Undergraduate Students Release Report on the Status of Undergraduate Women at MIT

Published in MIT News on February 25, 2016

Multi-year effort assesses differences in academics, leadership, campus environment, and confidence.

Seniors Caroline Chin and Kamilla Tekiela have released a Report on the Status of Undergraduate Women at MIT, a student initiative aimed at assessing gendered differences in academics, leadership, campus environment, and confidence. The report relies on student response data from a 2014 survey designed, administered, and analyzed by the report authors, supplemented with information from four Institute-wide surveys administered between 2011 and 2013.

Together with feedback gathered from six student focus groups, these data reveal that undergraduate women at MIT experience negative stereotyping and feel less confident than men, even though they perform as well or better than their male counterparts on standard metrics of academic success such as GPAs and graduation rates.  

“MIT has made great strides towards gender equality since Ellen Henrietta Swallow was admitted as the institution’s first female student in 1871. Today, the gender ratio of the undergraduate population is close to equal — 46 percent of undergraduate students are female,” Chin and Tekiela write in the report. “Despite the even gender distribution, female and male students continue to have different experiences at MIT..."

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