STEM careers are one of the fasting growing industries in the US, Yet women and minorities are still incredibly underrepresented.
According to the National Science Foundation, these are the big numbers
FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN STEM STUDIES AT THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL
- Computer Science: 18.2%
- Engineering: 19.2%
- Physics: 19.1%
MINORITY PARTICIPATION IN STEM STUDIES AT THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL
- Engineering: 3.1%
- Physical Sciences: 6.5%
- Mathematics: 5.4%
- Computer Science: 4.8%
That is frankly abysmal. While women represent roughly half of our population, there is less than 20% participation at the collegiate level, and because STEM careers tend to require at least a bachelors degree, that collegiate level data is, unfortunately, pretty demonstrative of STEM careers as a whole.
True, the numbers are getting better. But not fast enough
That is an increase of 1.4%. In a year…
It’s frankly embarrassing. Are we really not at a point yet where we can all agree that women are just as valid if not more so in the professional world?
Honestly, that’s not the end of the problem. Even when women obtain jobs in STEM fields, they are still paid less than their male counterparts
If you were looking for good news, keep looking. Minorities don’t tend to fare any better
So… What do we do?
Nicole Salazar has some answers, as well as some data that explains just how important diversity is to STEM in the future. Here’s a big idea from the presentation,
Young women and minorities need to see that scientists can look like them.
Women and minorities need to understand that scientists can be anyone. They need to understand that despite the common misperception that scientists are white men with crazy hair, scientists come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone has the right to have their ideas heard.
I plan to bring as many STEM professionals into my classroom as possible, with a commitment that diversity be fairly represented.
I also believe that all students in STEM classrooms should have examples and role models who look like them, so I plan to introduce a very similar assignment to our Meet the Scientist presentations.