Critical feminist analysis of STEM mentoring programs: A meta-synthesis of the existing literature

Makini Beck, Jillian Cadwell, Anne Kern, Ke Wu, Maniphone Dickerson, Melinda Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We conducted a meta-synthesis review of existing literature on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentoring programs for women. Critical feminist theory (CFT) was used to understand how mentoring programs support retention and occupational advancement of women in traditionally male-dominated STEM fields. Four primary strands of CFT were explored: gender, oppression/patriarchy, social institutions, and systemic change. Traditional models of mentoring encompass varied approaches, including institutionally enforced programs, formal and informal programs, paired peer grouping, as well as face-to-face and online forums. However, low levels of retention and self-stated lack of professional satisfaction for women in STEM fields continue to plague those professions. This study reviews the literature on mentoring programs that have been implemented to support women in STEM, thus adding to the epistemology of mentoring women in STEM through feminist discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-187
Number of pages21
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • STEM
  • feminist
  • mentoring


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