There are many misconceptions about equity and equality. These two terms are often used interchangeably even though they are very different. Equity is defined as proportional representation while equality is defined as treating everyone the same, giving the same opportunities. It is important to understand the importance of equity in the STEM field.
Status of Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
- Now, more than ever, women are being encouraged to pursue studies in the STEM field, but do the numbers support this? The short answer is yes. Since 1970, there has been a gradual incline in the percentage of women in STEM. As seen in the chart below, the only field that saw a decline in STEM occupations were computer workers beginning in 1990.
- The future of STEM depends on diversity within the field. Currently, there is a gap between the minority populations and minorities employed in the STEM field. The gap must close so that the STEM field is accurately represented. When accurately represented, the field will thrive – connecting different backgrounds, skills, and ideas. Below, we see Nicole Cabrera Salazar discuss STEM diversity in the TEDx video.
Why Pursue a Career in STEM?
“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts overall employment in the economy to grow by 7.4% between 2016 and 2026, while jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow by 10.8%.”– RCLCO
The projected growth of jobs in the STEM field is expected to be 10.8% between 2016 and 2026.
“STEM jobs are shifting toward those with a computer and mathematical focus.”– Stephanie Horan
“According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, college-educated STEM job holders earn between 29% and 39% more per hour than non-STEM employees with equivalent educational attainment.”– RCLCO
Those who have earned a STEM degree and work in the STEM field earn more on average per hour than those who do not have a STEM degree.
STEM Awareness in the Classroom
In my future classroom, STEM will be the main focus. I hope to one day teach high school life science or chemistry classes; both of which focus on science. I have learned several ways to incorporate technology, engineering, and mathematics in a science classroom.
- Science – develop lesson plans that follow state standards and guidelines, but allow for inquiry-based activities
- Technology – utilize different computer programs that allow students to experience the numerous platforms available
- Engineering – during inquiry-based activities allow for students to design their own lab experiments with trial and error
- Mathematics – arithmetic, algebra, and higher math should be utilized when solving different science questions ranging from physical science to AP chemistry