Education Fund addresses lack of women, minorities in STEM fields

It’s been 16 years since the publication of Rising Above the Gathering Storm, a landmark report from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine that argued for improvements in STEM education as a key strategy for preserving America's place as a global leader in science and technology. Central to achieving this aim, the authors argued, was the need to improve upon the underrepresentation of minorities and women in STEM education and STEM careers.

Communities and funders responded in turn with STEM-rich afterschool programming and STEM teacher professional development. Locally, Philadelphia joined a national network of providers launching collective impact initiatives, known as STEM Ecosystems. More recently, in 2020, the Philadelphia Education Fund partnered with global healthcare company GSK to launch the STEM Equity Collective – a 10-year, $10 million investment in efforts to close the STEM equity gap.

These more recent efforts are attempting to accelerate solutions. However, the challenges persist. The data shows that minorities major in STEM at the same rate as other groups, but are less likely to graduate with STEM degree. Women constitute 50% of the college-educated workforce, yet comprise only 28% of the science and engineering workforce. Blacks and Latinos, by comparison, reflect just 11% of workers in science and engineering occupations.

After nearly 20 years of investment in STEM equity, what have we learned? How are past efforts informing the newest investments? And, what obstacles and challenges remain? 

Register for Philadelphia Education Fund's next Education First Compact , scheduled for April 1st, when we’ll hear from individuals leading and innovating solutions to address minority and female underrepresentation in STEM education and careers.


    Betsy Payne – Manager, Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem
    Tracey Welson-Rossman – Founder, TechGirlz
    Third Panelist - TBA soon!


    Farah Jimenez, President and CEO, Philadelphia Education Fund

Schedule - Thursday, April 1

    9:00 - 9:45am Presentation
    9:45 - 10:15am Q & A

To register, go here.