Even so, there have been many efforts over the past decade to attract more women to STEM majors, which tend to endow their graduates with higher earning potential than other areas of study do. These data suggest that the programs have by and large disappointed.
There are some big success stories, of course: Harvey Mudd College revamped its computer science intro course, sponsors female undergrads at an annual women-in-computing conference and introduced some other interventions to attract more women into the field. Women now comprise nearly half of its computer science majors, according to a Bloomberg article last year. Lots of educators I’ve spoken with about the STEM gender gap cite Harvey Mudd as a role model.
It’s not clear, though, how well Harvey Mudd’s model will translate to other colleges, given that Harvey Mudd — while considering itself a liberal arts school — focuses explicitly on engineering, science and mathematics. One major obstacle that seems to be keeping women out of STEM fields more generally is the fact that humanities departments tend to grade more leniently, and compared with men women seem to really hate getting B’s. Those same kinds of grading differentials may be less present, or less salient, at a school where everyone has to major in math, science or engineering.