Encouraging Minorities in STEM

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to National Science Teachers Association, STEM is an “interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to complete in the new economy.”

The STEM Global Movement Westlab

What are the statistics of women and minorities in STEM?

Women in STEM

One of the biggest reason why some women don’t work in STEM is because of gender discrimination; many women that are in STEM have experienced this. Often because of gender discrimination, a concern that women typically have is in regards to unequal treatment– such as pay gaps.

Four-in-ten (44%) of women say that they believe that there isn’t many women in STEM jobs os because of the lack of encouragement that girls receive at early ages. Half (50%) of women that are in STEM say that they’ve received some type of discrimination in the workplace, which is 19% higher than women that work at a non-STEM workplace (41%). Among many types of discrimination, the most common is earning less than a man doing the same job (29%), being treated as incompetent because of their gender (29%), those being tied for the top two reasons of discrimination.

Along with all of that, here are some statistics of sexual harassment that occurs in STEM and non-STEM workplace; which a fifth of working women have experienced.

Minorities in STEM

In STEM, most often Blacks and Hispanics are very underrepresented. While they’re being underrepresented, Whites and Asians are being overrepresented. With the majority of STEM workers being Whites (69%), followed by Asians at (13%), Blacks (9%) and then Hispanics (7%). However, over the past 25 years, these percentages (of the minorities) have all increased.

However, a one-quarter of workers in STEM say that they have experiences some form of discrimination due to their race or ethnicity. In the graph below is the statistics of of how Blacks specifically have been discriminated based off of their race and ethnicity.

How should we encourage women and minorities in STEM?

  • Fight the stereotypes against gender, race, and ethnicity
  • Teach a growth mindset
  • Teach the value of failure
  • teach about successful women and minorities
  • Provide succeeding opportunities
  • Fight false stereotypes about STEM
  • Help your students relate to people in stem
  • Create a science-promoting environment
Flu Disparities Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups | CDC

The Future of STEM Depends on Diversity

In the TED Talk below, Scientist Nicole Cabrera Salazar, speaks on diversity in STEM, also from her perspective, and reasons why we should be actively engage underrepresented groups that are a part of STEM! Salazar was born in Chile and raised in Miami, FL– she is a first generation college students, having received her Bachelors in degree in Physics and is currently a PhD student!

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