STEM Looks Good On You!

Lack of Representation in STEM Careers

The underrepresentation of minorities and women in the STEM field is evident. Black workers make make up roughly 11% of the workforce in the United States, however, they only represent 9% of STEM careers. The same for Hispanic workers, representing only 8% of jobs in STEM while making up 17% of the United States workforce. Below are two statistical figures provided by the Pew Research Center, breaking down this inequitable representation.

Inequity in STEM Careers

The underrepresentation of women and BIPOC in the STEM field is majorly shaped by gender stereotypes, bias, and norms. A lack of role models also plays a major role in affecting girls’ and minorities’ interest in STEM from an early age. The gender and race gap that exists in the STEM field is undoubtedly an issue of equity. It is suggested by many, that women tend to choose careers outside of STEM because of the lack of interest, however, evidence and statistics indicate women and minorities are socialized away from careers in STEM. Below is a depiction of why many women and minorities make the decision to not work in STEM.

Bringing STEM into the Classroom

Making the decision to pursue a career in STEM begins in the classroom. Classroom culture matters. Here are just a few of many, key ways teachers can promote STEM to their students:

  • Have students bring in articles that are related to the STEM field for the class to read
  • Introduce “Scientist of the Week” where students could highlight women and minorities in the stem field
  • Have students interview someone in the STEM field
  • Bring in guest speakers that currently or previously worked in a STEM career
  • Incorporate many STEM projects that relate to student interests
  • Help students by seeking out scholarship opportunities as well as providing them with community resources related to STEM


  1. Hi Hannah! I really loved your post. I can tell you’re passionate about women in STEM! As a fellow woman in STEM, I am really passionate about it as well. In your post, you mentioned some struggles and barriers women and POC face in STEM fields. What would you recommend teachers tell students about this reality when it comes to working in the STEM field? Can teachers in classrooms do anything to impact diversity and inclusion in STEM fields?

    • Hi Audrey! I think teachers can most definitely impact diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. I think this begins by implementing practices and assignments that inform and highlight diversity in their own classrooms. The more students that pursue a career in STEM the more representation we will see which would in turn tear down some of those barriers we see in the field currently.

  2. Hey Hannah,
    As a woman in STEM, I can say that I never truly saw myself represented in science until my 10th-grade Biology class. I had a teacher who was a neurobiologist as her first career and a teacher as her second. She often brought her passion for neurobiology into the classroom giving us a different approach to science. She showed me that women can be scientists.
    How do we encourage students to pursue STEM careers despite the discrimination in STEM careers?
    How can we create those inclusive STEM environments in our classrooms?

    • Hi Trinity, thanks for reading! I think when it comes to encouraging students to pursue STEM careers, it begins with an inclusive STEM environment within the classroom. One great way to create this classroom environment is to have students participate in “Scientist of the Week” where they highlight women and minorities in the field. Representation is huge, so showing students that there are individuals working in STEM careers that look like them will make a big difference in student attitude toward the field as a whole.

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