Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth L. Shoenfelt (Director), Reagan D. Brown, and Amber N. Schroeder

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


The purpose of this research was to develop a questionnaire to be used to identify barriers and facilitators to women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) academics. The phenomenon known as the leaky pipeline, a theoretical model describing why women are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, was examined. Women have long been underrepresented in STEM professions despite an increase in the number of women earning STEM degrees, suggesting women are faced with barriers that prevent them from achieving equal representation with men. The literature has identified several potential barriers, both historical and new, such as biological inequalities, family responsibilities, commitment differences, competitive differences, gender stereotypes and implicit biases, work environments, and job preference. Major facilitators included mentors and specific policy/program implementation. Barriers and facilitators to faculty members at Western Kentucky University will be identified objectively through the use of this questionnaire in a future study.


Educational Psychology | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Psychiatry and Psychology | Secondary Education and Teaching