Issues Rooted in STEM

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Issues Rooted in STEM

By: Hayley Johnson

Have you seen this?

This is a new (2017) Lego set that was released just this year honoring important women in NASA history. Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison. What’s interesting is that these women all made strides in NASA in before 1993. It is nearly 24 years later and this is one of the first Lego sets that showcases solely important women in STEM (or solely important women in any aspect). A children’s toy company getting this out into the hands of today’s youth is a great way to bring attention to women in STEM, but this should’ve happened many years ago.

This shows that while we are finally starting to bring forth the issue of women not representing STEM fields as much as men, we still have so much more to do. Spreading awareness and encouraging our children and students is the best way to ignite the fire.

To put it in perspective:

-Women comprise of 48% of U.S. workforce, yet only 24% of STEM workers.

-Rosalind Franklin played a role in the the discovery of the DNA structure, yet was not credited at the time Watson and Crick received the Nobel Prize in 1962.

-UK patent applications review revealed that 94% of inventions in the field of computing, 96% in automotive applications and mining, and 99% in explosives and munitions, were by men

-Of first-time college freshmen interviewed in 1996 by the Higher Education Research Institute, 20% of men planned to major in computer science and engineering, while only 4% of women planned to.

-A large number of women graduate in STEM subjects but fail to move onto a STEM career compared to that of men in 2012 (Scotland).

Key Terms

Equality, inspire, engage, inform, inquire, advance, women, intelligence, empower

Additional evidence:

^US Census Bureau’s data on the divide of gender’s in common careers. Take note of the jobs at the bottom end of the list (80%+ women) versus the top (80%+ men)

^This article discusses the issue of under-representation of women in STEM careers and gives more insight on what you can do to ignite a change in these statistics.

^A woman with a career in STEM speaks about how she feels sh is a rarity, and why that should change.

^An interesting perspective on reforming the phrase “weather girl” to refer to female meteorologists. Weather girl degrades the fact that she has a STEM major and is a scientist. 

*How can we make strides to change this inequality?*

As an Educator:

Engage: Take the time to research information and statistics on women in STEM. Provide your students with this information frequently to spark interest and raise awareness. You can also hold class discussions about what students want to do in the future and what they are interested in. Take their feedback and find summer programs or scholarships they can apply for to help get them started.

Empower: Encompass multiple disciplines in your lessons such as incorporating engineering in a physics lesson by having students build egg cars to absorb the force of an impact on a wall. Showcase their uniqueness and creativity in their experiments/creations/ work to shows them that they are intelligent and capable of achieving great things in stem.

Ignite: Be an advocate for women in STEM. Take the initiative yourself. If your school doesn’t have relevant programs or clubs, start them yourself. Start a women in STEM club, create your own lesson plan to showcase important women in STEM history and their contributions to science, or anything else that could spark interest in STEM careers for your students.


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  1. Hayley,

    The lego kit at the beginning of your blog does a great job of bringing the reader into your article! Likewise, the flow of your blog is excellent, with bite-sized pieces of information leading into one another broken up by supporting visual aids. Finally, your last section with suggestions on how to help solve the issue is an awesome “call to action” for any teachers reading your blog! Great job!


  2. Hayley,
    I really like how you made different sections on ways to get your students more into STEM. I think your engage section is especially important because it can help your students find a passion for something within STEM. I really liked all of the graphics you included and the different statistics. How would you get students of other minorities more involved in STEM? You focused mainly on women but I would love to know what you would do to get more people involved!

    • Shay-
      I really focused mainly on women since i resonate with that issue a lot more but reading through other blogs brought to light more about the misrepresentation of other minorities in STEM as well. I think lot of the ideas in my section about what to do as an educator would be beneficial in helping any minority as well as the majority (males) get involved and exposed to issues in STEM at a younger age. I would center my material around other minorities and even make courses and activities centered around minorities in general to incorporate content and information that would inspire all students to get involved in STEM. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hayley-
    I WANT THAT WOMEN IN NASA LEGO KIT. Oh my goodness. You got my attention right from the start with that! Anywho, I loved your statistics regarding women in STEM fields and thought that added a powerful statement to your post. Plus, your ideas for in the classroom are wonderful! All in all, great post!

    • Naomi-
      I KNOW RIGHT IT’S AWESOME (secret santa I hope you’re out there even though it’s probably like $50 so nevermind). I really wanted statistics that were eye opening yet clear and concise so that any reader would be able to relate to them. Thanks for noticing! You’re always so excited and positive in your comments so thanks for that 🙂

  4. Hayley,

    I enjoyed your blog about equity this week! I loved how you gave stats about women not being represented in the STEM fields. I remember seeing the adds for the Lego set when it came out and thought about how great this is for women interested in STEM! I think you did a good job of explaining why we should encourage women to participate in STEM. I think your pictures and media graphics help get your point across. I would have like to see a section where you explained what equity is. Overall, great blog!


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