Why We Need More Women in STEM

Diversity and inclusivity are two terms that rule modern vernacular — and for good reason. Throughout the workforce, there is a gender disparity that should not exist.

For women who work in STEM (an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), their lack of representation proves the paradigm shift continues to be a work in progress. While we are moving in the right direction, it remains clear that society needs to continue cultivating environments that motivate women of all ages to pursue STEM careers.

Several factors contribute to the gender STEM gaps. And together, they make a cycle that has hindered the number of females trying to make a career in STEM. Here are a few:

Contributing Factors

  • Gender Stereotypes

    An issue that remains problematic across innumerable occupations, interests, hobbies, etc., is that gender stereotypes are real. They’re as prevalent as anywhere else when it comes to women in the STEM workforce. STEM fields are often considered “masculine” and not fit for women. Society — including educators and guardians — at times will underestimate girls’ abilities in math and science starting in early child development. To alter this mindset, it will take challenging male bias gender stereotypes surrounding STEM by fostering equitable beliefs that females are also capable of excelling in STEM.

  • Male-Dominated Cultures

    This reality is in direct correlation with gender stereotypes. When women are less inspired to seek out STEM education, each fields’ percentages of women to men remain unbalanced. This creates a snowball effect wherein fewer women are seen in STEM, building this false construct for women that they cannot find a home in STEM-related industries such as computer science or engineering.

  • Fewer Role Models

    As a direct result of the prior two factors, the number of female role models in STEM whom women may look up to is limited. When we can bring more women into STEM, the next generation of female STEM professionals can reference the work of the empowered and successful women before them. While the number of women in STEM isn’t necessarily given the same level of acknowledgment as men, here is a list of some of the most successful women in STEM proving that females belong in the fields.

Women Are the Future

Why we need women in STEM women doesn’t simply boil down to equality and ethics. It is far more than that. Science needs them. The world needs them. To encourage more women to pursue STEM careers, we can educate, recruit, support, and sustain efforts to provide more opportunities for women everywhere.

Why Women in STEM is the Future

  • The More Perspectives, the Better

    Think about it, how innovative can something be if it’s only being created from the perspective of one half of the population? With that being said, it means only half of the populations’ needs are being taken into consideration. In the world of technology, there are plenty of instances where women were not taken into consideration during the development process.

    For instance, in 2014, Apple launched a “comprehensive” health tracker app. This app allowed people to track everything from nightly sleeping patterns to molybdenum intake (yes, we had to look that up too). But upon release, there was one major tracking ability nowhere to be found: menstrual tracking. If there had been enough females on the development team, we can assume this major function wouldn’t have been missed in favor of molybdenum.

    There is no question that diversity makes science better. A development team with diverse representation has a greater chance of broadening viewpoints, asking different questions, solving complex problems, and innovating as a result. Diversity offers a greater chance to develop new (and potentially better) ideas. When a group deploys the efforts of different perspectives, the collective intelligence is more apt to create something truly groundbreaking.

  • Plenty of Jobs to Go Around

    The direction in which humans are moving, and will continue to be, heavily reliant on automation and artificial intelligence. The demand for jobs in STEM is booming now and is projected to grow 10.5% by 2030. As a result, STEM jobs will not only be highly sought after, but they’ll also become some of the highest-paid positions.

    But regardless of the upward trend, there are still jobs to be filled. The evolution of technology stops for no one. If there should be a lack of professionals to fill these roles, it could harm the future of science and engineering. What we can do is to stay vigilant in inspiring young women to follow their interests from an early age. The fundamentals of STEM education are deeply ingrained in standard academia, so the path is within view. The goal should be to build the confidence of women and let them know they belong in STEM too.

Moving Forward

Disproving this idea that women don’t belong in STEM, or aren’t capable of making the same impact as men, starts by combating gender bias in young children. Children are innately impressionable. It’s why you hear phrases like “who taught you that word?” or “where did you learn that?” from parents who may have missed the moment their child picked something up. The adage, “Kids brains are like sponges,” holds decades of merit.

If we can begin teaching girls the joys of STEM at an early age and how much of a difference they can make by getting an education and career in STEM — the future would be quite a bit brighter. But without more women present in STEM, we see cases like Apple’s health tracker or how the original seatbelt was modeled only for the size of the average man. Without women in STEM, we miss out on a talent pool that can take innovations, discoveries, and progressions to a place we’ve never been.

Why Kenzie?

We believe that every person deserves the opportunity to pursue a career in STEM. Our comprehensive programs are built to accommodate your schedule and prior obligations. We want to lend a hand in getting more women interested in fields like computer science or engineering — fields that maybe they didn’t believe they could succeed in. So reach out to us to learn more about life working in STEM. You may be ready to apply today!

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