Systemic inequalities for LGBTQ professionals in STEM

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Science Advances  15 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 3, eabe0933
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe0933


Researchers have documented race and gender inequality in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for decades. Do lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) professionals face parallel experiences of disadvantage in STEM? Using representative survey data from 21 STEM professional societies (Nsample = 25,324; NLGBTQ = 1006), this paper presents multidimensional and methodologically robust documentation of 5 dimensions of LGBTQ inequality in STEM. Controlling for variation by demographic, discipline, and job factors, LGBTQ STEM professionals were more likely to experience career limitations, harassment, and professional devaluation than their non-LGBTQ peers. They also reported more frequent health difficulties and were more likely to intend to leave STEM. These trends were similar across STEM disciplines and employment sectors. We found no differences by LGBTQ status in education level, work effort, or job commitment. These findings reveal LGBTQ status as a clear axis of inequality in STEM and motivate further research into the mechanisms producing such outcomes.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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