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The STEM workforce is much more gender-diverse in China than it is in the United States, even accounting for the male skew in China’s population. About 40 percent of China’s STEM workforce is comprised of women, a stark contrast to the U.S. workforce, where women only hold 24 percent of STEM occupations.
A lack of gender diversity in STEM occupations means that a sizable chunk of the population is not involved in the scientific discoveries and innovations that spur economic growth and improve overall wellbeing. With global competition, greater gender diversity would create more of an edge in innovative capacity.
U.S. education policies thus need to build interest in math and science among a broader pool of elementary school students, and also see that policies and programs are in place across all levels of education to encourage and retain the best and brightest women across STEM fields.