STEM(en & women)

Who dominates the STEM fields?

According to The National Girls Collaborative Project:

  • Women constitute 47% of the overall workforce
    • But only 28% of the Science and Engineering workforce

So what does this have to do with us teachers?

Interest in a career typically starts in K-12 education. So, what are the numbers?

  • Female students’ achievement in math and science is pretty equal with their male peers
  • Males are more likely to take advanced level AP courses in STEM subjects
    • Females are more likely to take AP courses in English and History

As teachers, it’s our job to encourage all students to pursue any career that they are interested in.

I think this blog puts it perfectly:

“This needs to change, as the lack of women in STEM will continue to plague our country until all students, regardless of sex, have adequate opportunities to explore math and science through out elementary, middle and high school.”

I highly encourage you to watch this next video titled: Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science

  • See what President Obama & these young women scientists have to say about women in STEM

What about other minorities?

Check out this statistic:

  • Not only are white women underrepresented, but ALL women are underrepresented in STEM

Why does all of this even matter?

  • There’s no evidence that girls are less capable in these fields, but, due to stereotypes, girls “feel” less capable
  • Typically, there’s a higher pay salary for STEM jobs, meaning that the lack of women contributes to the gender salary gap
  • A lack of females in these fields means fewer female role models for girls interested in STEM

STEM Women

How, as a teacher, do I instill STEM awareness in my classroom?

  • Have my students recognize people in STEM, other than males
    • Some type of research project where they have to research a minority in STEM
      • Think “meet the scientist”
  • Have a “Scientist of the Week” where we discuss a minority who is already in a STEM field, and talk about what they have done

Image result for stem in classrooms

As parents, teachers, role models, siblings, friends, etc., it’s our job to encourage everyone in our lives to pursue the career of their dreams, no matter what field it’s in. Let’s all do our part to break the gender stereotypes, and get more young minorities into STEM!


  1. Katie! Love your blog. I think that it is really important that you brought up the gender salary gap in regards to STEM careers. Because women don’t hold as many of these high paying STEM careers, men are statistically making more yearly. However, with the women who are holding these positions, they are still making less than their male colleagues. On average, a woman with the same credentials in a STEM field will make less than a man with the same credentials holding the same position. This is not okay and must change! This has sadly happened to many women I know, and many of them were not confident enough to stand up for themselves and demand equality. Would you address this to any girls in your classroom who are interested in STEM? Do you think this should even be addressed? How would you prepare them to be confident in their abilities in the future?

    • Thanks Kate! I think everything you’ve brought up is so true. The gender salary gap is ridiculous, and it’s not just in STEM careers either! You are so right, it definitely needs to change. I think that is important to instill confidence in all students, no matter what gender they are or what career path they are interested in. But when it comes to females in STEM, I think that it is very important to address this topic to everyone. It’s important to address it to the female students so they know what it ahead of them, and that they need to learn how to stick up for themselves. I also think it’s equally as important to address it to the male students so they are aware of what it happening, and hopefully feel the need to make some type of difference. I would be sure to show different situations women in STEM have been put in and maybe ask my class what they would do if they were in her shoes, or what could have been done to change the situation.
      Thanks for the feedback!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.