Economic Security: Expanding Women's Participation in US Science

By Rosser, Sue V. | Harvard International Review, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

Economic Security: Expanding Women's Participation in US Science


Rosser, Sue V., Harvard International Review


As US competitiveness is increasingly challenged on all sides, the forced attrition of women from the science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) workforce represents an annual cost of billions of dollars. This loss comes at a time when the United States is facing an absolute decline in entry-level engineers and growing rivalry from foreign innovators. Most discussions hold that gender equality is the primary benefit of, and reason for, getting more women into science. But this is not the primary benefit. Instead, the failure to expand women's participation in science is not simply an issue of "feminism" or civil rights but increasingly a problem for US economic security.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Problem: Decline in US Technological Capabilities

For the last decade, a parade of reports has documented a slow erosion of the United States' relative advantage in science and technology. The alarm sounded by the National Academy of Sciences analysis, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," is only the latest of these troubling surveys. After almost a century of near technological predominance, the United States has become a consistent net importer of high technology, shifting slowly from a US$22.4 billion high-tech trade surplus in 1990 to a US$134.6 billion trade deficit by 2005. The United States' share of world science and engineering research publications has also fallen; while the United States now trails even in the use of high technologies, most of which were US inventions, including (percapita) the internet (9th), broadband (12th), and cellular phones (53rd).

The implications for US competitiveness should be clear to all. National strength in science and technology directly feeds US economic growth, industrial prowess, military might, and increasing living standards. Economists estimate that half of US economic growth since World War II has come from new technology, creating productivity improvements in every sector of its economy.

After peaking during the 1990s, the wellspring of US science and technology appears to have slipped into relative decline and is evident in the broader economy. Over the last decade, US patents as a percentage of world patents have fallen by one percent each year. And while per capita patenting rates are climbing within the United States (1.66 percent annually during 1996-2005), innovation rates are rising even faster outside the United States (2.31 percent annually from 1996-2005).

Perhaps more worrying is the fact that US high-technology small business formation has dropped in every sector. This is important because small business formation represents the traditional seedbed for new technologies and industries. Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Apple, and Google all began in garages and university dorms as small businesses, as did many of the telecom, internet, alternative energy, and even some of the biotechnology firms of the 1990s.

In contrast, foreign firms have vastly improved their scientific and technological capabilities. We have seen the rise of technological competitors in Ireland, Israel, Finland, Taiwan, South Korea, and a half-dozen other countries. Toyota and Honda now mass-produce the most advanced hybrid automobiles. Spain is home to Europe's first commercial concentrating solar power plant and is a lead producer of wind power technologies, and Israel's Checkpoint is the inventor and market leader of network security "firewalls."

China, according to most analysts, now looms as the next major technological competitor to the United States. Although the data remain cloudy, China produces at least twice the number of engineers as the United States. In published research, China now ranks second in engineering and chemistry and third in physics and mathematics. High-tech production has been outsourced to take advantage of this labor supply, making China the world's biggest exporter of telecom equipment, computers, electronic components, and now even the world's largest producer of solar panels. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Economic Security: Expanding Women's Participation in US Science
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.