There is convincing evidence that scientific excellence and technological innovation are important for the future growth of our society and country. STEM is critical for national security, economic success and scientific leadership.You may ask What is STEM? STEM stands for Science,Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM contributes directly to the standard of living and quality of life of a country’s citizens. This is why a country’s prosperity, security and health depend on the contributions of STEM. Currently there is a large underrepresentation of women in STEM, so how do we expect to exponentially increase the future growth of our country if we have less than 25% of STEM jobs. Even though women do nearly fill half of all the jobs in the U.S. the STEM jobs that women hold is so low and we need to worry and support Women in entering a field in STEM.
We as a society need to find a way to increase the percentage of women in STEM.Women have nearly always been the minority in STEM. Women in STEM get a lot more pay nearly by 33% more than Women not in STEM. These jobs are in high demand and are going to always be in demand because STEM is what helps us grow as a society.This has always been a problem but I think that people don’t see it as a problem until a big situation or concern arises when there is a shortage of People in STEM for example.Why let the problem get worse and continue letting Society influence women’s decision to not join STEM or drop out of the Field. So why aren’t more women entering the STEM field? Women aren’t entering STEM fields, but why? Is it because society doesn’t support women entering STEM or is it because of the state of mind that makes a lot of people think that Women can’t be as smart or smarter than men in a STEM job? Far too many people think that it’s not possible for women to be as effective as men in STEM. This way of thinking has gotten so radical that even a Nobel peace prize scientist has thought that women shouldn’t join STEM.”Hunt said he was in favor of single-sex labs, adding that he didn’t want to “stand in the way of women.”
This is outrageous way of thinking but how can we change it? We can change it by starting to influence the public. You may ask how can we do this or how can we show this important problem. Well for starters, we can influence our educative system by adding in Programs that will push more people to start doing STEM and seeing why it’s a good thing to be in STEM. There is a joke that goes like “What do you call a “nerd” ten years after high school graduation? Boss.” this joke is relevant because people seem to be offended or are discouraged of being smart because they will be called “nerds” and they have been associating that term with being a bad thing cause they usually don’t think that “nerds” are “cool”. “Girls see mathematicians and scientists as “nerds”, loners, and social misfits.” They see it this way because all most of STEM is dominated by males so it’s seen a man’s job. This can also be fixed by setting up assembly at schools that gets Women working in STEM and show them that they are not “nerds” but successful Women that both have really well paying jobs and still having a social life. We then need to start adding in more programs into education that help teach STEM subjects to children earlier than usual.”Efforts have been made both in the traditional educational setting as well as outside of the educational system to interest more girls and young women in pursuing STEM education and STEM careers(Wood, 2002; Mason and Kahle,1988).” These kinds of efforts consist of giving more information about STEM related career opportunities and their prerequisites, a higher need for counselors to encourage math and science courses for girls, and especially stress creativity and basic STEM skills. These are just a few of many more things that can be done to influence Women to joining a STEM field.
Now what can we do to increase or encourage more and more women to take on a field in STEM? Most of these can be done through the educational system. “Innovative programs have been developed to teach math to children grades 3 to 6 in new exciting ways.”(Burke, 13) NASA has made programs and have recently been approved by President Trump “The Inspire Act directs NASA to promote STEM fields to women and girls, and encourage women to pursue careers in aerospace. The law gives NASA three months to present two congressional committees with its plans for getting staff — think astronauts, scientists and engineers — in front of girls studying STEM in elementary and secondary schools.”(Carson) An older program is called JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) this was developed in Toronto, Canada in 1998 “Volunteer math tutors work with young boys and girls”(Burke, 13 ) But the difference in NASA’s program is that . Not only Formal education has been wanting to help but outside school education through communities “Informal science education often carried out by museums and science center can provide opportunities for mentoring, improving science and job skills, countering negative stereotypes of science, increasing understanding and value of science, developing skills, providing a chance to use tools and science equipment, and resultant increased feelings of success and achievement. The goal of these efforts was to provide the information, encouragement and confidence that girls need to consider careers in STEM areas.” (Burke, 13) All these options just need more influence through political speakers or large influencers.
The Government can be a big part of this as we have already seen in the NASA & Trump Initiative. Other countries are already ahead of us such as the UK “The government has begun a program to encourage female engineers to return to work after taking time off to have children,. Their research indicated that about 50,000 women engineers, scientist and technology graduates were not currently working.”(Burke,22) They have already set up a bunch of initiatives that have included, allocating funds to the WISE(Women in Science and Engineering) Campaign, funding a similar program for women engineers returning to work after a career break, launching the franklin medal to boost women’s profile in science by awarding it annually to a female researcher for scientific innovation. These initiatives make it a lot more competitive which influences women to compete and try their best to be the next person that gets awarded the Medal and then also starts showing younger women that they could achieve that as well. Women need a bigger influence to see why such a STEM career is beneficial to them and society.
Women leave science and math subjects at school or even when they already have gotten their degree they change it, but why? “Women drop out of science and maths in alarming numbers, not because there are sinister and mysterious patriarchal forces at play, but because they either can’t cut it in highly competitive environments or they simply change their minds about what they want from life.”(Milo) They do this because they feel as if they are being pressured to do their work because sometimes workplaces can seem very competitive since men can be sexist in the workplace this especially happens in our country. Other countries have gotten the right idea of promoting STEM careers and being more “female-friendly” Us as a society need to also encourage more Women, we need more innovators and more pioneers to lead us into the future world. There is a saying that goes something like “Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life” Now we need to change that up and influence women. “Teach a Woman how to fish and she will eat for the rest of her life.” We need to start them young because children are so creative, now imagine the possibilities of what children that are encouraged to do STEM will do for us as a society but most importantly us as the entire world.
Clark Blickenstaff*, Jacob. “Women and science careers: leaky pipeline or gender filter?.” Gender and education 17.4 (2005): 369-386. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540250500145072
Diekman, Amanda B., Erica S. Weisgram, and Aimee L. Belanger. “New routes to recruiting and retaining women in STEM: Policy implications of a communal goal congruity perspective.” Social Issues and Policy Review 9.1 (2015): 52-88. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sipr.12010/full
Ratcliffe, Rebecca. “Nobel Scientist Tim Hunt: Female Scientists Cause Trouble for Men in Labs.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 10 June 2015, www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/10/nobel-scientist-tim-hunt-female-scientists-cause-trouble-for-men-in-labs
Erin Carson February 28, 2017 3:50 PM PST . “Trump Signs Laws to Promote Women in STEM.” CNET, 28 Feb. 2017, www.cnet.com/news/trump-women-in-stem-tech-laws/.
Milo. “Here’s Why There Ought to Be a Cap on Women Studying Science and Maths.” Breitbart, 15 June 2015, www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/15/heres-why-there-ought-to-be-a-cap-on-women-studying-science-and-maths/.
Beede, David N., et al. “Women in STEM: A gender gap to innovation.” (2011). http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/womeninstemagaptoinnovation8311.pdf
Burke, Ronald J. “Women and minorities in STEM: A primer.” Women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: Upping the numbers 1 (2007): 3-27. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zgsvXQ4GbfkC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=Women+and+minorities+in+stem&ots=25p8YbXwy5&sig=F-fDTJrCr4qZq2tRgCr-G9-Aisk#v=onepage&q=Women%20and%20minorities%20in%20stem&f=true
Del Giudice, Marguerite. “Why It’s Crucial to Get More Women Into Science.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 27 Apr. 2017, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/11/141107-gender-studies-women-scientific-research-feminist/