Men primarily dominate the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industry. The ratio of women to men in these fields is highly unbalanced.
Engineering and science are two of the most heavily dominated STEM fields by men. According to research, only 21% of engineering graduates and 19% of computer science majors are women.
Although these statistics are relatively low, more women have entered the STEM industry as a career over the past few decades. The idea that STEM-related jobs are primarily for men is changing. However, to keep up with these changes, we need to empower more women in these fields.
1. Change the Stereotypes
Because there is a gender gap in the workforce for STEM careers, many vital factors remain present:
- Stereotyping: Society views STEM fields as a place for men. Parents and teachers often underestimate girls’ abilities in math and science. This makes girls feel compelled to work harder to achieve good grades.
- Few role models: There is a lack of interest and inspiration from women in these fields. Therefore, younger girls have few role models.
- Few opportunities: Because more men dominate these fields, a STEM career looks unattractive to women and minorities.
Promoting diversity is a significant step that society should take to support more women in these fields. Schools and universities are examples of places that are trying to encourage more women to enter STEM-related jobs.
Stanford is one university that supports these roles and recognizes many intelligent women through support groups such as Women in STEM groups. According to Provost Persis Drell, “The number of women undergraduates in STEM subjects at Stanford is increasing – which is great – but there is still a large disparity for women entering these fields professionally. And women leave their STEM-based careers at a much higher rate than men. These campus organizations help call attention to these issues.”
Educating girls and shaking off the stereotypes is how society can better empower more young women in STEM.
2. Encourage Participation in STEM Programs
STEM program participation at an early age encourages girls to develop more interest. More workshops are popping up in schools and are starting to gain popularity. However, for this to continue, STEM fields must foster support at a local and national level.
Sherry Washburn is one woman in STEM who volunteers at a science outreach program for younger girls. Washburn describes her volunteer work as fun and says, “It’s great seeing them light up and realize that what seems like magic is really just science, and it’s completely within reach for them to do themselves.”
More opportunities for math and science students will give young women the courage to complete their STEM majors. Fortunately, these programs can help increase young girls’ interest to step into these roles later on in life.
3. Offer Learning Opportunities
National clubs are making headway by introducing women to STEM through education, enabling them to explore their interests. Additionally, internships and job shadowing programs open women up to several possibilities.
One example is a nonprofit organization called ChickTech. The company is dedicating its time to increasing the number of females pursuing STEM-based careers. It’s also working hard to retain women in the technology industry. ChickTech provides learning opportunities for women in higher education, including leadership seminars, summer camps, adult group meetings and much more.
Organizations like ChicTech can make a difference and encourage STEM inspiration through empowerment, diversity, inclusion and equality.
4. Provide Mentorship
Mentoring is a valuable opportunity that young women can benefit from in STEM. Mentors can help them build confidence and transform that into career satisfaction. People who choose to be a mentor should have the capacity to lead young women toward success.
Mentors must be willing to spend time teaching their technical skills and have an interest in their proteges. This can be one of the essential foundations for building self-esteem.
The majority of women that participate in mentoring find success in achieving their career goals.
5. Empower With Resources
The internet is rich with information and resources for young women interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields. They can visit several professional organizations’ websites, such as EngineerGirl. Sites like this are designed to empower young women with the process of innovation.
Women are the critical components of creative solutions and diversity, and EngineerGirl wants to ensure women are part of the process of innovation.
Resources present a chance to learn about women in STEM professions. Bringing more enlightenment allows them to achieve focus and growth.
Start Making Changes Today
As more women enter STEM, girls will begin to follow the opportunities that await them. Empowering more young women in the field will stimulate the economy, as more jobs are filled. However, it all starts with understanding what women can offer.