LGBTQ+ in STEM: Resolving Disparities Using Demographic Data

LGBTQ+ people are estimated to be 20% less represented in STEM fields than statistically expected, and are less likely than non-LGBTQ+ people to stay in STEM majors and earn STEM degrees. Harmful biases and unsupportive STEM environments appear to be partly at fault, with LGBTQ+ people in STEM experiencing more career barriers and workplace harassment than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. Despite these disparities, LGBTQ+ people have been left behind in STEM diversity efforts. A major factor is the widespread lack of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) demographic data.

While efforts to move the U.S. government toward SOGI data collection in its national surveys of the scientific workforce are making headway, that’s only just the beginning. Universities wonder now whether and how they could make a transition to SOGI data collection, but they often do not know where to begin. Peter Drucker’s famous maxim, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, underscores U.S. universities’ increasing need to collect SOGI data to ensure LGBTQ+ equity, remedy educational and workplace challenges, and attract and retain LGBTQ+ talent. SOGI data collection at universities would enable an understanding of the educational and career trajectories of LGBTQ+ individuals in higher education more generally as well.

This panel will focus on the role that universities play in building inclusive excellence, cultivating community and belonging for LGBTQ+ people in STEM and higher education, and resolving the increasingly documented challenges and disparities LGBTQ+ people are facing in STEM. The panel will feature a conversation about how LGBTQ+ challenges in STEM could be remedied by harnessing SOGI data collection and how U.S. universities could move toward SOGI data collection to achieve inclusive excellence and resolve disparities.


  • Santiago Correa, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia
  • Jed Marsh, Vice Provost for Institutional Research, Princeton
  • Elana Redfield, Federal Policy Director, Williams Institute, UCLA Law
  • Travis York, Director of Inclusive STEMM Ecosystems for Equity & Diversity (ISEED), American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • Jon Freeman, Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia (moderator)


Event Contact Information:
Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement


Apr 21 2023


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



Buell Hall (Columbia University)
515 W. 116th St.


Columbia University
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