Have you ever heard of the STEM gap? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The gap means that women are consistently steered away from jobs in these fields during their education. This restricts their opportunities for moving forward in these industries when they enter the workforce.
Why Aren’t More Females in STEM Fields?
According to the American Association of University Women, only 28 percent of employees with jobs in STEM fields are female.
Some other factors contribute to the gap, including:
- Lack of female role models in the industry
- The stereotype that men are more gifted at math and science
- The unconscious bias that science and math jobs are associated with males and arts and humanities jobs are associated with females
The Number of Females in STEM Fields is Increasing
We are moving forward, and more females than ever are entering science-related fields. However, men continue to dominate this industry, particularly in the upper levels of these jobs. As they graduate high school, males and females seem to pursue science-related careers in equal numbers. But by the time that they must declare a major in college, more men than women say that they are concentrating on science, technology, engineering, and math studies.
Moving forward with more females in science and math jobs could open the door to innovation and creativity. A more diverse workforce could lead to the development of more inclusive, useful products and services.
In October 2019, NASA made history when the first all-female team performed a spacewalk to repair a broken controller. NASA is moving forward with intentions to equalize the workforce. The company has purposefully worked to gain more females in its ranks and is moving forward, hoping to see the first woman walk on the moon by 2024.
Opportunities for Females in STEM
There are several non-profit organizations that are moving forward, aiming to help females gain opportunities in STEM fields. Groups such as Women Who Code provide leads for jobs, coding resources, leadership opportunities, community and networking opportunities, scholarships, and recognition for female leaders. Some of the scholarships offered by these organizations can help females with moving forward in a notoriously male-dominated field.
Some of the scholarships available for females in science, math, engineering, and technology are as follows:
- Women in STEM Study.com Scholarship – This scholarship offers a $500 award to females pursuing a bachelor’s or associate degree in a STEM field.
- VIP Women in Technology Scholarship – Multiple $2,500 scholarships are available for females pursuing careers in IT, computer science, management information systems or related fields. Applicants are assessed based on their grades as well as a 1,000-word essay that outlines a community issue that could be remedied using technology.
- Selected Professions Fellowship for Women – This scholarship awards up to $18,000 to females who are enrolled in a master’s or professional degree program in a field related to science, math, engineering, technology, business, law, or medicine.