#metoo is one of the biggest and most movements of recent years. The women in STEM movement might not have as much social media interest (yet), but it has just as important a role to play in forging an equal future.
Below I explain what STEM is all about and give you some inspirational examples of women who are part of the movement.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for: Science,Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The term was created in 2001 by US biologist Judith Ramaley and the purpose of the movement is to encourage more young people to choose a career from a STEM discipline.
Why is there a STEM movement for women?
Your school, or college, may have been one where STEM subjects had a 50/50 split between girls and boys.
However, even if it did, chances are that the girls who majored in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics are now earning less than and are outnumbered by their male colleagues.
Don’t believe me? The depressing facts are that women working in STEM jobs earn an average of $31.11 per hour, while Men earn an average of $36.34 per hour, and that women account for 24% of STEM jobs, men account for 76%. Facts that are too awful to remain true.
Women may have been given the vote, the right to work, and the choice of accessing higher education, but how much use is this if our voice is drowned out and isn’t considered as valuable as our male peers?
So, why is there a STEM movement for women? Because if you don’t act now your daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter will be underrepresented and underpaid. This movement is about breaking down those barriers and bringing equality to society.
What is being done?
On an organizational level there are many groups who are promoting the core values of what the women in STEM movement is all about, along with helping to encourage more women to get involved:
Girls Who Code
The aim of this nonprofit is to give young women the necessary skills to be able to thrive in roles within the computing industry. Their focus is on positions such as, programming, robotics, and web design – all of which should value mental dexterity and application over the sex-determination system.
Already there are 1500 Girls Who Code clubs and 90,000 members found across all 50 US states. And the organization’s ambition is for 1 million girls to be able to code by 2020, with gender parity in computer science to be achieved by 2027.
You can show your support for Girls Who Code by making a donation to their organization here.
Founded in 2001, the purpose of this website is to bring national attention to the opportunities that are available to women in the engineering industry. Why? Because female engineers shape economic growth, societal innovation, and structural creativity.
Without leveling the opportunities in the STEM industries to the natural, gender free, state that it should be, society will be built on principles that benefit one half of humanity over another. And this simply won’t do.
Supported by the National Academy of Engineering, EngineerGirl has helped to bring actionable advice on how girls can get into engineering to close to 100 schools across Canada and USA. Their great work means that the world now looks, feels, and acts in a way that goes closer to benefiting everyone, not one gender alone.
If you have skills or experience in engineering and want to help more women make their way in the industry, get in contact with EngineerGirl today.
What can you do?
The women in STEM movement isn’t just about what others are doing; it’s about what you can do, RIGHT NOW, and there’s so much that you can do to help:
Participate in Girl Day
Girl Day is an annual event that is designed to promote encourage girls to get involved in the STEM movement. You can run your own Girl Day event, with the organizers geared towards getting these three audiences involved: educators, engineers, and parents.
If you are from one of these groups then I implore you to get involved in Girl Day and give your daughter and her school friends the chance to thrive in a STEM role. If you don’t act now then she may find herself earning less than and being drowned out by her male peers.
Make your own way in the STEM industry
If you’ve always had an interest in STEM but were unable to realize your ambition of working in the industry, there are still plenty of opportunities to become a woman in STEM.
If you are based in the US there are a number of college scholarships available to help women get into the STEM industry. While, if you live in UK you can seek investment to retrain in a STEM role from The Daphne Jackson Trust.
Become a role model
The past and present is littered with women who have made their success in the STEM industry, from Marie Curie’s work in radioactivity to Amy Thibodeau’s expertise in developing the biggest player in ecommerce through the online store product.
You can help shape the future by becoming a role model for the next-gen of female STEM professionals. If you’re a teacher you can find out more about how to become a STEM role model by getting in contact with the American Board. If not, there are a number of different organizations that offer you the opportunity to shape the future for women in STEM.
The Women In STEM Movement is enormously important; it’s about breaking down barriers, opening doors, and leveling the playing field for you, your daughter, your granddaughter, and all future generations of women. So, throw your support behind it and play your part in forging an equal future.