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Diversity in STEM

Equality in Education

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) reports that lower-income students’ math and reading scores on the National Report Card have fallen, showing that the performance gap in education is widening. The report highlights the positive impacts that have been made over time to close this performance gap and suggests that the solution for achieving this is to support teachers and programs that show evidence of impact. This support includes expanding access to learning opportunities, from after school programs to summer camps.

What causes the innovation gap?

According to the Equality of Opportunity Project’s study, Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation, there are large disparities in innovation rates by socioeconomic class, race and gender.

The Equality of Opportunity Project dives deeper into the gender gap. According to this research, only 18 percent of patented inventors are female. Though the gender gap is slowly shrinking, at the current rate it will take 118 years to reach gender equality in innovation.

The findings state that exposure to innovation substantially increases the chances that a child becomes an inventor. The report also states that “children from high-income families are ten times more likely to become inventors than children from low-income families.”

How do NIHF’s education programs support the future generations?

The National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) offers science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs for PreK through professional development. These programs focus on hands-on experiences with real-life application. In 2021*, NIHF partnered with over 1,260 schools across 1,160 districts, impacting over 210,000 students through our immersive, PreK-12 STEM programs. This includes providing over 143,000 underserved children with an immersive STEM experience. We work to provide students who may not have the same level of exposure with the opportunity to experience STEM and innovation. As a result of these efforts, the gender balance in our Camp Invention® program is ahead of the curve, with 41% of our program participants being female in 2021.

Help underserved students in your area

Learn how to partner with NIHF to help support underserved students and close the performance gap in education by bringing STEM education programs to your area today.


*This data is current as of Nov. 2, 2021.

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