What If You’re Only Seeing Half of the Opportunities?

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What If You’re Only Seeing Half of the Opportunities?

Imagine if we as a society created even more opportunities for women in STEM careers: what could they solve? Cure?

Imagine if we as a society created even more opportunities for women in STEM careers: what could they solve? Cure?

Photo by Elizabeth Niemiec

Imagine if we as a society created even more opportunities for women in STEM careers: what could they solve? Cure?

Photo by Elizabeth Niemiec

Photo by Elizabeth Niemiec

Imagine if we as a society created even more opportunities for women in STEM careers: what could they solve? Cure?

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Why are so few women in STEM subjects? This question sadly hasn’t been asked enough, and has resulted in underrepresentation and the continuation of Science remaining a sexist institution. The progress made in the past 100 years should no doubt be noted. However, despite these improvements, female scientists continue to face discrimination, unequal pay, and funding disparities.

According to the National Science Board, Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. Interestingly, during K-12, boys and girls don’t significantly differ in participation in STEM subjects. However, the rates of science and engineering course taking for women shift at the undergraduate level, and gender disparities begin to emerge. Only 19% of women get a bachelor’s in engineering, 18% in computer science and 39% in physics. Sadly, this division continues all the way into the workforce, where women remain underrepresented in science and engineering.

So, back to our original question: Why so few? According to Joe Gabel, “I think fewer women participate in the science due to the over saturation of men in the field, which can lead to a male bias in STEM, so women of equal ability are not recognized, literally or subconsciously influencing a woman’s choice in entering the field.” With male domination in STEM fields, there has come a bias and unfortunately the continuation of harmful stereotypes towards women. Many in the workplace have come to believe that women are not “naturally built” for science and research. That they don’t have the mental and physical capability to do so. That because some women choose to become mothers, it hinders them from being valuable to the team. These beliefs must go. Not only are they stopping women from reaching their dreams but it has blinded the world from seeing half the opportunities in STEM advancement.

Fortunately, there is hope for change. Progress in teaching our children the value and importance of equality gives light to a world where the next generation of scientists and engineers will be less sexist and more open to all who chose STEM. Josh Espinoza states, “we are hearing more of the accomplishments of female scientists and now there is more of a focus on females, and they are being recognized more.” This increase of awareness and recognition of women will help to bring equality and provide hope to a better world. So please, encourage our little girls, teach our little boys, and make aware that women and men, can be the future of STEM.

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