A lack of qualified women candidates in STEM fields hinders efforts to reduce gender disparity in federal-government jobs in STEM fields, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new Women’s Work Group report. Women hold 31% of information technology jobs in the federal government, 28% in physical-science positions and just 15% in engineering and architecture jobs.

EEOC says that while the government would like to see those percentages increase, the “lower percentage of women receiving STEM degrees results in substantially fewer women than men available in the applicant pool to recruit to federal STEM positions, which presents a formidable challenge to efforts to increase women’s representation in federal STEM occupations,” Nextgov reports.

Other reasons cited by EEOC for the gender disparity in federal jobs include a continuing wage gap that favors men and a similarly biased track record on promotions. “Inflexible workplace policies especially make it difficult for women to balance their work responsibilities with their caregiving responsibilities,” the agency concludes.

Read the complete Women’s Work Group report here. Does EEOC’s report show an adequate understanding of the challenges facing women in STEM fields? Add your comments here. Join the conversation.

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