“Truth or consequences”: A feminist critical policy analysis of the STEM crisis

Katherine Cumings Mansfield, Anjalé D. Welton, Margaret Grogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STEM education has received significant attention in the USA and is largely fueled by rhetoric suggesting the USA is losing its global competitive edge and that there is a lack of qualified workers available to fill growing STEM jobs. However, a counter discourse is emerging that questions the legitimacy of these claims. In response, we employed feminist critical policy analysis as both a theory and a method to further critique the STEM crisis discourse. We argue that the nature of the current discourse is misleading at worst and incomplete at best and show who is fueling the crisis discourse and who stands to win or lose as a result. We reveal how the crisis discourse draws attention away from the multi-layered complexity of the issue and surface what is missing in the discourse to re-center public attention on protracted problems that still need dismantling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1182
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical policy analysis
  • Feminist theory
  • Qualitative research methods
  • STEM
  • Women and girls in education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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