A recent study highlights how the lower the percentage of other females in your (STEM) cohort the greater the chance that female students will drop out of their program.
Katie Langin highlights this study and looks at the experience of different females to understand better what effect having female peers has and how one can find support outside of one’s cohort. She quotes Susan Gardner, “who has interviewed Ph.D. students about their experiences in graduate school. Students usually drop out because of some other factor besides intellectual ability, such as poor advising, a toxic climate, or because they want to pursue other options, Gardner says. ‘Very few people drop out of doctoral education because they got bad grades.'”
The reason that females leave isn’t necessarily toxic environments, although harassment and other negative experiences related to gender and sexism do occur, as the anecdote at end of the article illustrates. Instead, the challenge can be summarized as a lack of support: whether that be through challenging negative environments or simply through social isolation and difficulty in developing friendships (within one’s cohort and labs).
The end of the article presents how important it is to find good support. It is my hope that Campus Edge provides that kind of support, especially for people who feel isolated and unsupported in whatever program they’re in, for whatever reason.