Fighting the gender gap in education
The U.S. Department of Education is making strides to minimize the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, changing programs in universities across the nation to attract women to careers that typically sees minimal female participation. Lauryn Watkoski, a student attending an engineering camp at a leading technical school in Flint, Michigan, spoke with USA Today about how this school is making STEM education more exciting for dozens of young women.
"I used to like building things when I was little, but I never expected robotics, something so stereotypically male, to be exciting," she told the news source.
According to the latest report by the U.S. Commerce Department, women make up only about a quarter of STEM jobs, even though this field helps them earn an average of 33 percent more than women working in other areas. By attracting more females to these careers, the U.S. economy could stand to dramatically improve, making the nation more competitive in the global market.
There's no black and white reason for why the current statistics are where they are right now. Oftentimes, women are discouraged from entering the field because of social pressure, which, according to USA Today, has nothing to do with their talents, but rather outward encouragement to stick to stereotypically female careers.
Just because STEM careers are notoriously dominated by men, doesn't mean women can't defy the norm. Just look at Betty Shanahan, the chief executive officer of the Society of Women Engineers, who surpassed numerous male colleagues to become a STEM force to be reckoned with.
During a recent STEM Summit put on by U.S. News and World Report, Shanahan rallied for women to overcome barriers:
"To be competitive, we can't ignore two-thirds of our future workforce," said Shanahan, as quoted by the news source. "In a white male-dominated environment...[women] think there's something wrong with them, but there is something wrong with the environment."
If you're thinking about breaking outside of the box, you could potentially go on to work in dozens of challenging professions, ranging from environmental engineering to biomedical sciences. With your feminine intuition, you could introduce new ideas into this predominantly male sector.