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