Despite valiant efforts to recruit more women, the gender gap in the fields collectively known as STEM -- science, technology, engineering, and math -- is not getting any better. The gaps in computer science and engineering are the largest of any major STEM discipline. Nationally, less than 20% of bachelor’s degrees in these fields go to women. Women are missing out on great jobs, and society is missing out on the innovations women could be making in new technology.
When I was a child, my father bought me a Tandy computer with a book about BASIC, and I taught myself programming. That skill lifted me out of poverty and put me on the path toward launching my own IT consulting business. I was lucky. Unfortunately, that life-changing opportunity is not available to most kids growing up in this country.
One of the most effective and vital ways to increase the amount of qualified STEM personnel in the workforce is by encouraging women to pursue careers in the field. Although women make up 47% of the workforce, they represent only 25% of the STEM workforce. It's no surprise that women are in the minority when it comes to studying STEM subjects -- this diversity problem begins when women are girls.
Techbridge is engineering a revolution for girls to change the world through science, technology, and engineering. Watch Aileen’s inspiring story.
Techbridge, a leader for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming for girls, announced today during a convening of national STEM leaders the release of a white paper that provides best practices to encourage girls in STEM education and ultimately STEM careers. The white paper, made possible by support from Chevron, provides solutions to help expand opportunities and increase diversity in the STEM workforce.
“When a female makes it to the higher levels of science and math, she’s going to be good, because all her life she had to fight,” said Ming Lin, a computer science professor at UNC. “She had to compete with other people, but mostly she had to fight against herself, because she spent years and years surrounded by men, watching her female peers dwindle. By the time she gets there, she’s going to be very good.”
With these gender disparities in mind, a collaborative research project between Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab and the School of Computer Science, called the HEAR ME project, is hoping to identify how students themselves feel about STEM education’s importance, and how they think gender bias could, or already does, impact them.
Last fall, cloud compensation services company PayScale released the findings from this massive compensation study of over 1.4 million full-time employees tracked over the course of two years. The findings are depressing, but not surprising; the gender pay gap absolutely exists in in every industry, though it's much narrower in the IT industry.
Speaking at a Q&A in Manhattan hosted by Hearst Magazines, Smith talked about the benefits of adding technologists to the federal workforce as well as the Obama administration's stance on encryption. A big focus for her, though, was highlighting women technologists and scientists to help inspire the next generation of female engineers and mathematicians.
Barclay, who manages exploration and space communications projects for NASA, was the keynote speaker for the annual event held at the Lancaster Country Club. This year’s program focused on the theme of advancing women in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math. “Space isn't that far away. A career in STEM isn't that far away,” Barclay said after describing the experiences that led her to enter the engineering field.