A greater demand for an expansion of technology dependent products, pandemic fighting vaccines and antivirals, the dire need for solutions to our global climate crisis, and paradigm shifting inventions have led to the exponential growth of STEM related jobs. STEM fields are at the forefront of that which will determine our future success as an advanced society. Sadly, only 27% of STEM workers are women. Over a 40 year span the percentage of women in STEM has only increased by 8%.
Now more than ever before companies, universities and programs are stressing the need for more women in STEM and efforts are being made to close the gender gap. Today, women in STEM fields are encouraging future generations of women to seek careers in STEM to help close the gender gap. Women in STEM fields are promoting and partnering with universities to highlight the career path and education needed. However, higher education isn’t the only gateway into the world of STEM. There are programs young women can take early on to inquire and assess any interest they may have in STEM fields. Camps such as “Girls Who Code” immerse girls into the world of tech and specifically coding where they can take courses and learn from workshops offered all throughout the year. Another entity called “GSTEM” hosts a six-week program directed towards high school juniors with a high aptitude in STEM. Each week students are assigned projects devoted to a specific field in STEM. This allows girls to see their options and determine if one field is more interesting to them than the others.
At an early age, it’s good to educate girls in and provide exposure to the variety of career options in STEM. By acquiring their interest early on, providing positive hands-on experience of STEM work and following up with positive reinforcement that they can thrive in STEM fields, over the next 20 years we’ll quickly see that gender gap close.