Girls in STEM?
By Rayanny Paula
August 21, 2022
UPDATED 12:00 PM
[Photo Credit: iStock]
If I told you to think about a scientist, what would be the first image to croos your mind?
According to a study developed in 63 schools in Mexico City, kids were asked to do the same thing and, additionally, draw the idea they had about what was a scientist. It was concluded that girls were twice as likely to draw men as they were to draw women, while boys almost universally drew men.
In the STEM market, women only fill about 28% of it workspace, with men outnumbering the occupations (font: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Data from the Pew Research Center show that the annual salary of a man in the STEM field is $15,000 higher than for a woman ($85,000 compared to $60,828 a year).
This lack of feminine figures inside the STEM area is an enormous issue that, unfortunately, isn’t discussed nowadays as it should. The importance of having a diverse community in this area is essential for the growth of global society. While researching and designing solutions for the overall global community, as the world evolved with an only-men-effort, many inventions were catered to and designed only for them - leaving a significant portion of society’s needs out of consideration.
For example, when the seatbelt was first introduced, it was modeled to fit the male body, which resulted in the loss of lives of many women and children because their body types weren’t considered. In addition, 95% of women find that they struggle with equipment that does not fit them.
To solve this global issue, some solutions are listed above that everyone, including you and I, can use to help solve these matters:
Raise awareness about the topic! It can be via projects, movements, groups, or communities. The higher number of people reached, disbelieving myths around the topic, and bringing discussions about it, will automatically increase the common knowledge among women about their roles in STEM.
Support each little girl you know. If you ever meet a girl that ever desired to learn more about STEM, encourage her! Break the negative chain and don’t let her dreams fade away. Show her capabilities, and give the confidence necessary to pursue her dreams.
If possible, talk to parents and schools. Both entities are important during the growth of a child, and having their support may be the crucial thing necessary for a positive future for women in STEM. Provide them knowledge on how to support those girls, teaching them the skills necessary and, mostly, helping their journey in achieving their dreams.
Marian Wright Edelman, an American children’s rights activist once said: “You cannot be what you cannot see.” Bringing more famous models to our future generation of young women will increase their confidence on becoming sucessful STEM professionals.
Girls are good just as boys - and who knows, better than them?
Aguilar, M.S., Rosas, A., Zavaleta, J.G.M. et al. EXPLORING HIGH-ACHIEVING STUDENTS’ IMAGES OF MATHEMATICIANS. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 14, 527–548 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-014-9586-1
Roman, Nancy Grace. “The Stem Gap: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” AAUW, 3 Mar. 2022, https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/
Chan, Gabrielle. “The Importance of Women in STEM.” The HEAD Foundation, 14 Feb. 2022, https://headfoundation.org/2021/09/27/the-importance-of-women-in-stem/
Kidz, Banyan Tree. “The Importance of Girls in STEM Education.” Banyan Tree Kidz, 21 Aug. 2021, https://banyantreekidz.com/blogs/articles/importance-of-girls-in-stem-education#:~:text=Introducing%20girls%20to%20STEM%20education,diverse%20and%20talented%20STEM%20workforce
Silva, Vitor. “The Importance of STEM for Girls and How to Motivate Them.” Built By Me, 27 Mar. 2021, https://www.builtbyme.com/importance-stem-girls-motivate/