This blog focuses a great deal on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) education, and the STEM field, in general. The importance of STEM in our education system and the workforce is undeniable, and up until recently, initiatives to bring awareness to the industry were limited. In previous blogs, I’ve discussed the general importance of STEM, STEM education, and other areas surrounding the topic – when it comes to STEM, there’s always something to talk about.
A current topic that is consistently discussed in the STEM-world is the lack of women in the field.
According to Sherri Brown, women make up 48% of the U.S workforce, ranking at almost half. However, when you take a look at the STEM workforce, women make up just 25%; thus showing the significant gender gap within the field. STEM is a fantastic field for both men and women to thrive in, and a major key to the field being successful is supporting and fostering diversity. Today, we are seeing women and minorities break barriers and enter fields that don’t typically have a diverse background.
Aside from diversity in general, women in STEM bring many new innovations and opinions that help different fields meet the needs of the entire population rather than just one side of it. Consider an innovation as common as the seatbelt in your car, as an example recently provided by the Huffington Post. In the early developments of the seatbelt, prototypes were modeled by the average male and designed based on the male body. While the design was essentially developed to save lives of the passengers in a vehicle, the male-based design ended up resulting in serious (and even fatal) injuries to women and children due to the major differences in body types. This is just a small example, but it’s also a true example of how diversity in fields such as engineering can provide different insights, resources and innovative developments.
Many organizations have taken great initiatives in reducing the gender gap within STEM and promoting the need for women within the field. Schools are now bringing STEM into their regular curriculum to teach younger generations about the industry, and specifically to reduce gender stereotypes surrounding subjects such as math and science.
It’s an exciting time for the STEM field, as its growth will promote diversity and innovation for both male and female professionals.