Equity in STEM: Forging a path for Women and Minorities

For years prejudice has covered the ground against women and minorities trying to extend their reach into developing careers in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Although the percentage of women and minorities has risen slightly over the years the amount of these individuals is still largely outnumbered by white males dominating the industries.

Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Groups | Diversity in Extramural Programs
Diversity in STEM

Women and Minorities in STEM Careers

While women make up half of the work force, only 24% of women are found in STEM careers. While Black and Hispanic work populations only hold about 7% each compared to their overall hold of 11% and 9%, respectively of adults in the workforce.

Among all the STEM careers occupied by women and minorities it is unfortunate to find that a majority of these careers are not more diverse. The majority of these careers are among health-related jobs. While Blacks make up roughly 11% of the US workforce and 16% are Hispanics they only are represented by 9% and 7% respectively in STEM jobs.

This means that many fields are suffering from diversity. Women and minorities are needed in these fields because they can offer different experiences and solutions to ongoing puzzles in these areas. As Elaine Montilla explains below companies that are more diversified experience more innovation.

So What Can We Do?

The first thing we can do towards promoting diversity in STEM fields is to promote STEM to women and minorities while still in the classroom. Students need to be encouraged so that they understand that they are capable of anything and everything no matter their race or gender. The question is how do we properly encourage future students into following STEM careers? To begin we need classes that are fully engaging that make science fun and interesting. That show how science is not simply a thought turned to law, but instead is constantly shifting and changing to better suit our understanding of the universe around us and inspire them to want to be a part of that.

How Do You Get Kids Interested In STEM? | 9ijakids

In my future classroom to inspire more women and minorities to pursue STEM careers I will do a number of things to build their curiosity and intrinsic motivation. Such as:

  • Not discourage anyone for speaking out about their ideas contributed or grade too hard on women and minorities which would discourage things like “math anxiousness” to not develop
  • I will use students’ backgrounds to relate to accomplishments performed by women and minorities in STEM fields.
  • Getting students to recognize the achievements of women and minorities in STEM by doing research on various contributors then verbally recognizing the contributions they made so students understand the significance.
  • I could send out invitations for women and/or minorities in STEM careers to come and guest speak to the class about their experiences and why they decided to go into STEM.

Again to sum it all up it is crucial that we find more diversity in STEM careers because it can lead us to better innovation and technology for the future to come and I will do all I can to support my students into pursuing STEM by providing interesting and engaging material in the classroom.

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5 Responses to Equity in STEM: Forging a path for Women and Minorities

  1. greveaa says:

    Hey McKenna, my response to your question would be that, short of pestering women and BIPOC students to join these extracurriculars, you would have to first make those areas all inclusive zones. You would have to set up a repertoire with the students that is engaging enough that it becomes the buzz of the school making students want to join. Female students and BIPOC students may still be too shy to join the group, but you could hang flyers for STEM extracurriculars with scientists that are female or BIPOC. Then there’s always picking out students from your own classes you could try to talk into joining the STEM extracurricular to help represent a more approachable environment for those who are uncertain.

  2. greveaa says:

    Hey Luke!

    I really like your question it was pretty challenging, but I think that the way that I can make the class engaging while showing the importance of contributions made by women and minorities is by finding a lab I can do that was created from the efforts of women and minorities and then removing those contributions from the lab, enough so that it is functional. This would highlight how important those discoveries contribute while honoring those that made them. Thanks for your question!

  3. mill1745 says:

    Hi Anthony! I really enjoyed your blog post. I am interested to see your take on this question: how do we encourage women and people of color to pursue STEM in activities that might not be in the classroom? Experiences like clubs, extracurriculars, etc.?

  4. larsonli says:

    Hey Anthony,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog! Thanks for addressing the problems that our society faces with regards to the attitudes people have toward women and minorities. I think that identifying what is causing the major gap in STEM employment is an important place to start in working toward a solution. I thought the video you put in was great, and it really shed light on how a more diverse workforce is such a benefit to a company. I think this is something a lot of people do not realize, so they are more hesitant to hire a diverse group of employees. What is one way that you can chance the science class into an engaging and fun class while also highlighting the contributions of women and minority populations in STEM?

  5. wahlsc says:

    Hey ,
    Awesome post! I enjoyed learning about this issue from your perspective. You brought up some strong points that I could take away and learn from. I think that making sure we encourage and give confidence to our students is the utmost important thing to do in our classrooms. I think that like I mentioned in my blog, that showing our students minorities that broke through the discrimination to prevail and become successful would be very inspirational.

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