Many women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have faced a common experience at some point during their college days -- they walked into a classroom and found that they were among a small handful of women in the class, or even the only one. That kind of experience has the potential to make a talented, motivated student feel out-of-place, and compel her to search for more inclusive academic environments...
Maya is part of a growing number of girls who are trying out robotics—through school clubs or regional organizations, and in co-ed or all girls teams -- and finding out that they have a knack for it. FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology), the nonprofit that helped spark the girls-in-robotics moment and is behind The Wired Devils, now boasts more than 3,100 teams nationwide and over 78,000 student-aged participants.
It’s a complex issue with many roots that must be addressed through a number of thoughtfully connected solutions. STEM scholarships, one solution among many, begin to address these issues directly by providing key monetary resources, offering a sense of community among the recipients and sidestepping closed networks that limit access to mentorship and support for young women.
The best engineering toys aimed at girls embrace how they play and integrate science into that play. This kit is no different. Barbie is using science to make her life better. Through a guide that is part-storybook and part-instruction manual, she is presented with various dilemmas and works with her friend, an African American doll named Nikki, to build a solution.
Half of all science and engineering degrees are earned by women. Does this signal gender equality in STEM? Many experts and advocates say it doesn't. While the critical mass of women in biosciences and social sciences remain high – between 49% and 58% - the proportion of female students who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering (20%) is bleak. It's an even lower percentage of women in computer science, according to a National Science Foundation report from 2015.
In February 2015, the Brookings Institution released the report, "America's Advanced Industries: What they are, where they are, and why they matter." The authors of the report identified 50 industries that constitute the advanced industries sector, of which 35 are related to manufacturing, 12 to services and three to energy. The report states, "As of 2013, the nation’s 50 advanced industries…employed 12.3 million U.S. workers. That amounts to about 9% of total U.S. employment.
According to the U.S. government's Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the total number of active female international students studying STEM in the U.S. increased more than 68 percent from 76,638 students in 2010 to 128,807 in 2015, with the largest increase at the master's degree level. The majority of those students were from India and China.
The study says that women are one and a half times more likely to drop out of calculus than men. The study, which was published Wednesday in PLOS ONE, a journal published by the Public Library of Science, found that while both men and women experience a loss of confidence in their math skills at a similar rate in Calculus I, the problem is that women have a lower confidence rate to begin with.
Women are fleeing the lab in larger numbers than men. Despite years of effort to encourage female students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math - so called STEM fields - a new study by researchers at the University of Missouri finds that gender is a primary indicator in dropout rates for college programs.
Implicit biases -- such as girls aren't as good as boys in science and math -- have hampered advancements in work force diversity for decades. But what does it mean when girls themselves perpetuate the damaging erroneous stereotype? What can be done to entice girls to pursue classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) before they lose interest?