STEMinism: Voicing for Women Pursuing STEM Careers
By: Carolina Ruiz
The term feminism is one that represents the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes. STEMinism, in turn, is the advocacy of increasing the presence of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This term was created in order to show the disparities that still exist today between men and women in STEM-related careers.
Developing jobs have been shown to have an increased need for STEM-based skills, yet many of these jobs are underrepresented by women.
In order to understand this further, studies have been done on young female and male students to see where these situations start. Based on a study conducted by the National Science Board, differences already exist on elementary and high school levels. Female students’ performance is on par with their male counterparts in mathematics and science fields. The difference stands in the confidence and assurance these female students have about their abilities. Almost three times as many male students were willing to enroll in computer science and AP courses while female students were not.
This begs the question if this problem begins at a young age.
A recent study done by College Factual, showed that male graduates in STEM almost doubled their female counterparts. On average, the majors chosen by this smaller percentage of female STEM graduates were lower-paying as well.
When it comes to minorities these numbers decrease even further. In a similar study done by Catalyst Research, women of color, Latinas, and other minority groups accounted for the lowest percentage of earned STEM degrees, collectively.
The main message to take from this is that some form of change needs to occur. Empowering young females is where change can start. Educators and even Google’s Kamau Bobb support the idea of exposing young women to what STEM careers entail can lead to further interest in pursuing these careers in college. Most importantly, teaching young women that they do not need to avoid these fields simply because of the larger proportions of male counterparts can build up inclusion.
Many women pursuing STEM careers today are already speaking out to cause change. Programs like Girl Up WiSci STEAM camps give young girls a chance to be involved in STEM projects and research. Websites like Steminist give professional women who have created careers in STEM a chance to speak about their experiences and encourage future generations to pursue them as well. Needless to say, AMWA itself is creating a platform for women in medicine and STEM to voice empowerment toward others.
The effort of encouraging future generations will be important in continuing to invoke the change we need. In the words of late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
Catalyst, Quick Take: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) (August 4, 2020). Find Study Here
Stockwell, Carly. “Women vs. Men in STEM Degrees: Do We Have a Problem?” Inside College Factual. (27 Oct. 2017) Find Study Here