According to the United States Census Bureau, women in this country make up almost fifty percent of the workforce. However, from that number, only 26% are working in fields related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) compared to the 74% of men in the area. Unfortunately, this gap seems to be broadening as well. Matters like these are critical as it pertains to the conversation of gender equality, especially in the workplace.
For starters, there is no evidence to prove that women are less capable of performing in these fields. Instead, the evidence shows that they feel less capable, due to societal stereotypes. Plus, workers in STEM field typically receive higher pay than in other areas. So, with the lack of women in this field, it only furthers serves the gender salary gap. It is important that we begin encourages young women to start pursuing STEM if it interests them. They should not feel like that is something they are not good enough to do.
A lot of times these science education gaps begin as early as in kindergarten and continues until about the end of the eighth grade. So, students are not getting the necessary exposure in their early years which then haunts them as they grow older. Science Education is very important for children at a young age as I mentioned in a previous blog. With all this in mind, how do we then increase the number of women in STEM?
It is important to note the differing reasonings between why men would have an interest in STEM subjects and why women would have an interest. Men find the features of technology as one of the things that keeps them interested. On the other hand, women revel in how STEM can improve the lives of others. So, by showing women the value of how each of these subjects can enhance the quality of life for others, it will get them more interested in the field. We also need to expose young girls to other women in STEM fields.
It is essential for them to have role models that they can look up to and show them that they are also just as capable of being in the same position one day. Another thing to keep in mind is that research shows that people are more likely to speak regarding numbers and science attributes to boys than they would with girls. This line of communication can also make girls feel less capable of handling that kind of language so we should make an effort to use the same kind of verbiage with girls as we would with boys.
We need to start encouraging young girls to pursue their scientific passions and show them that shouldn’t feel limited in their abilities. There are numerous benefits to have more women involved in STEM fields, and the hope is that years from now that 26% will have a significant increase.