Why more women should consider careers in STEM?

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash
Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

The literature together with daily observations have uncovered an undeniable fact. The fact that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are male-dominated. It seems that only a few women have an interest in STEM.

In the past, these were considered to some degree male interest-areas. Yet, in keeping with the upcoming pervasively digital economies it is only normal to think otherwise. To think of why women should start seeing STEM careers as attractive alternatives. In our universities, STEM careers should experience greater women inflows, if we’re to thrive in the near future.

STEM underpins the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and STEM education can provide learners with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors required for inclusive and sustainable societies. Leaving out girls and women in STEM education and careers is a loss for all. – UNESCO in Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

But why is it that women tend to prefer other career options, save STEM? Could it be lack of female role models? Or could it be such courses are in and of themselves male-oriented? Put another way, why do men prefer STEM careers? Aren’t both men and women given similar opportunities?  From early education, aren’t they taught the same things by the same people?

Is it true that the majority of girls prefer to study softer sciences such as management? Can lack of motivation from parents be one of the factors resulting in the under- representation of women in engineering? Could fear of difficult subjects (mathematics, physics) be one of the factors resulting in the under-representation of women in engineering?

Or are working conditions in industry more suitable for men than women? Similarly, could a gender difference that is greater at higher levels of an income than at lower levels of an income influence women’s choices?

Why would anyone bother to go this extend in reviewing these questions. Why even try and suggest that women should join in? I think, we can’t just leave it at that. The fact that women are not STEM informed. We need to find answers or clues as to why there’s continued disinterest of women in STEM careers.

Let’s get to it, U.S.A continues to be the world leader in as far as innovation and technology are concerned. This is greatly underlined by its keen interest in STEM. The US government invests in STEM courses and careers because of their potential, especially in the fourth industrial revolution.

Though, even in that, women constitute the minority of the working labor. Which says a lot about the STEM potential to revolutionize the economy. Now guess what happens if the number of women increases? Much of the human resource is squandered if women remain under-presented.

STEM careers represent the best equal employment opportunities for women and minorities. – Nicole Smith

Today, being technologically adept is of a significant competitive advantage for those wishing to remain on par with digital economies. Researchers have come to believe that the fourth industrial revolution demands knowledge and skills in STEM.

Say for example, a social science major with basics in coding or digital skills is likely to be preferred over one with a master’s degree and years of experience without basics in coding. These diversification is what pays off in the long run.

There’s a reason why closing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) gap for women and minorities is so important. STEM is not just the place where most of the jobs, including some of the highest pay­ing jobs in the country are. It’s also the place where the wage gap between men and women is much smaller: in STEM fields, women earn 92 cents for every dollar earned by men, compared to 77 cents for other fields. –White Paper March 2014 in Women in STEM: realizing the potential

Proposed strategies to curb discouraging numbers of women in STEM according to American Association of University Women in Why so few: This is why government, corporate and nonprofit initiatives that provide education, coaching and mentoring path­ways to students and youth are so central to addressing the shortage of women in STEM education and jobs.

High-quality mentoring and sponsorship programs that connect girls and women with both STEM professionals and tangible opportunities can significantly increase the number of women who pursue, succeed and stay in STEM fields.

Mentorship is often cited as a key strategy for exciting, supporting, and keeping students and young scientists and engineers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This is particularly true for individuals who haven’t historically participated in these areas— such as young women and underrepresented minorities.

Digital economies demand extensive innovation. Innovation in and of itself requires diverse skills. These facts plus the fact of women being the majority in our world, show that unless women get into STEM careers too much potential remains untapped.

A few amazing facts:

  • STEM employment opportunities are predicted to grow in the future.
  • From a scientific perspective, the inclusion of women promotes scientific excellence and boosts the quality of STEM outcomes, as diverse perspectives aggregate creativity, reduce potential biases, and promote more robust knowledge and solutions.