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.
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.
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.