As our society continues to evolve technologically and scientifically, the need for STEM skills is becoming increasingly important. Unfortunately, research shows that while women make up nearly half of the college-educated workforce, they hold only 1 in 4 STEM jobs. Elementary school girls love STEM subjects, but on the way to middle school, they drop out of the STEM pipeline. They feel that STEM isn’t for them, and this belief is rooted in old stereotypes.
Research indicates that a key contributor is a lack of female role models. As girls look around for female role models, they don’t see many folks in STEM who look like them. Girls’ lack of participation in this growing and important sector of society has serious consequences not only for girls and women but also for the future of technological innovation and our economy.
If we want girls to succeed in STEM and be leaders in innovation, we must show them that it’s possible with more role models. After all, increasing their participation in STEM leads to:
Better Bottom Lines
We can’t keep missing out on the valuable perspectives that 50% of the population can bring to designing the technology of the future. A wealth of research in the past decade shows that having women in the workplace improves problem-solving, productivity, innovation, and ultimately, the bottom line.
A Smarter, Stronger Workforce
Research shows that girls who are interested in STEM are more academically engaged overall and tend to have higher confidence in their own academic abilities. Furthermore, STEM courses encourage the development of problem-solving skills and solutions-oriented mentalities that transfer to any field. These skills prepare girls for success in STEM fields and beyond.
Creative and Unexpected Uses of STEM in Life
Girls are using STEM in their everyday lives without even realizing it. A career in STEM isn’t necessary to realize that your everyday work may require STEM type skills. Baking or cooking, slime DIY projects, building with Legos, creating new fashion patterns all involve some type of science, technology, engineering or math.
By sparking a girl’s interest in STEM, we’re not only inspiring her to hone technical skills that are critical to our collective future, but we’re also arming her with the confidence she’ll need to face any challenge. When the girls of today are prepared for the challenges of tomorrow, we can all look forward to a brighter future.