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Migrant women in STEM: exploring migration-gender wage gap among STEM occupations in the US

Authors: Sijiao Xie*, Arizona State University
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Population Geography, Population Geography
Keywords: highly skilled migration, migration, gender, STEM, employment
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Highly skilled migrants hold a disproportionate share of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations in the United States, making significant contributions to the nation’s economic growth and leading position in advanced industries. While lots of scholars have observed that the STEM arena in the US is often genderly-segregated and male-dominated, the employment experience of migrant women in STEM is hardly addressed in the literature. In the US, women often face "double-trouble" in STEM: being both outnumbered and associated with negative stereotypes, it is very difficult for women to achieve career success in STEM occupations comparing to their male counterparts. On the other hand, while feminist researchers have established sound understanding of migrant women's "double-disadvantage", recent analysis on the geographic differentiation of creative class women's employment performance and ethnic minorities in STEM have suggested the possibility for migrant women to mitigate their migration-gender disadvantages in STEM.

However, despite the importance of varying local labor market characteristics in shaping the employment experience migrants and women, there is very little examination of migration-gender wage inequality in STEM from the geographic perspective. This study compares migrant women's employment performance across different US regions and metropolitan labor markets, and test how different labor market configurations, especially the concentration of STEM occupations and foreign-born population, affect the wage-gap among foreign-born men and women and their US-born counterparts. The result of this study establishes an overview of migration-gender wage inequality in STEM and lay the foundations for future investigations into the causality of migration-gender inequality.

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