In a world that is technologically progressing at extraordinary speeds, there are still primitive problems situated within our society. The demand for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) related jobs is at an all-time high. There is a need for 3.5 million job positions to be filled for STEM jobs by 2025 (Lazio, 2019). Even though this demand for this field of study is so high, the number of women joining this field is proportionally insufficient. Statistically, women only make up 28% of STEM careers according to the AAUW. The percent of jobs occupied by women is not the only alarming stat that is involved regarding this topic. Another concerning fact is that there is a major wage gap between women and men in these jobs. These jobs are demanding high wages due to their high demand to be filled and women are getting discriminated against in the amount they earn.
This problem also applies to minorities respectively. The black population is underrepresented in the STEM workforce. They make up 9% of the STEM workforce but represent 11% of the total workforce. This also applies to the Hispanic community that makes up 17% of the US workforce but is only represented as 8% of the STEM workforce. This is a huge problem since it shows that there is a major underrepresentation in these fields for these minorities. The wage gap applies to minorities as well but to a greater extent. The African American to Caucasian STEM professional pay gap was at an alarming 80% difference according to Science News Journal. That means that White STEM professionals are making 80% more than minorities.
These worrisome stats are a result of discrimination by society and personal interactions. Women are looked down upon in these fields by men and this, in turn, makes many women leave. They are not welcomed and looked upon as outcasts. There also are societal aspects that discourage women from being associated with STEM-related content. Women do not get exposed to science as much as men growing up. This lack of exposure decreases interest when they grow up. Minorities face the same discrimination as women. They are exposed to the idea that they will not be able to jobs STEM fields so they never try to achieve having a STEM job. This is due to the oppression that they endure in their community and based on their minority status. This societal oppression has discouraged many students of color from ever getting involved in a STEM career.
As a society, we need to change this oppression that limits women and minorities from ever reaching the STEM field. We need to ensure that women/minorities have just as much opportunity to join STEM majors in college. We need to educate women/minorities on the possibilities that the STEM field carries. We also need to change the stereotypical idea that women and minorities are not good enough or qualified to join the STEM field. These changes need to be done from a global perspective in order to help those groups of people who are underrepresented.
Personally, I will encourage minorities and women to join STEM by giving them the knowledge and courage they need to make the decision. I think the most important thing is letting these students know that they CAN get into the stem field. I want to build that professional relationship with my students so I can help give them build the courage they need to face the real world. Also, I want to give them knowledge about the STEM field, so they know what it is. I feel like a lot of minorities have a lack of experience and knowledge regarding STEM which prevents them from entering the field. I also am wanting to incorporate inquiry-based learning to help prepare my students on how to perform TRUE science. The most important thing I think that would benefit my class would be to bring in a minority that’s heavily involved in the STEM field. I think having these minority students relate to someone who actually went through that oppression and persevered would be very influential for the students. I feel like if I promote these steps in my class I will dramatically increase STEM awareness.