Although more women are entering the world of STEM, it is still a male dominated field as only one quarter of workers are female. Women are greatly underrepresented in this field and as a result, young girls are often deterred from pursuing a career within STEM. This gender imbalance is often referred to as the gender gap in STEM.
STEM Women used a statistic stating that the recent UCAS data provided by HESA shows that 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women.
Many employers don’t actively target potential female candidates during the hiring process, and as a result fewer females apply for these positions. By giving women the opportunity to apply for these positions we will help to close the gender gap in STEM careers, provide young females with new role models, and prevent gender inequality within the STEM workforce for future generations.
What Does STEM Mean?
STEM is an abbreviation for four close areas of study – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These fields are often associated together as they are similar in practice and theory.
Why Are There So Few Women In STEM?
The big question for a lot of young women is why is there a gender gap in STEM careers? There are a number of reasons why women are the minority within these careers, and it is important that we understand these and learn how we can close it for future generations.
1. Lack of Female Role Models
Unfortunately, many young women across the globe feel put off from applying to STEM related degrees due to a lack of female role models within these courses.
Although there are amazing female role models within STEM, they are not spoken about enough in education. As a result of this, young women feel like they have less people to look up to and won’t work towards a STEM careers.
2. Lack of support for young women beyond secondary education
Throughout secondary education, young women are encouraged to enter STEM careers and are taught to develop their skills. However, throughout university and beyond the support for women in STEM declines. Fewer women are encouraged to pursue these careers and are often made to feel inferior to their male peers.
3. Sexism Within STEM Careers
Unfortunately sexism is something that young women often experience within male dominated courses like STEM, and as a result they can be made to feel inferior to their classmates.
Sexism is present in STEM degrees around the world. The experiences that young women have at university can often push them away from pursuing a STEM career and will also deter their female peers from doing the same.
There is often the stereotype that women aren’t as talented as their male classmates in STEM, and this statement is simply untrue. Because of these stereotypes many young women aren’t fussed on the thought of feeling inferior to their male peers and decide to pursue a different career path.
What Does It Mean To Be A Woman In STEM?
For women entering a career in STEM, not only are they becoming role models for young girls interested in this field but they are taking one step closer to closing the gender gap. Whether you are an engineer, microbiologist, physicist, or in any other amazing STEM career, you are capable of working in this profession and have worked hard to get to where you are today!
Although the gender gap within STEM is still present, each year more young women are moving forwards to starting their amazing career journeys.
Women In STEM Resources
Although the gender gap in STEM is still present today, there are a number of amazing resources and organisations out there that aim to tackle the gender pay gap and aim help more women towards a career in STEM. Some of these organisations include:
- SheCodes offers part-time coding bootcamps and workshops for women online.
- Women@NASA encourages women and girls to pursue careers in the aerospace industry, with plenty of recruitment and career opportunities
- STEM Women is a privately owned organisation that provides inclusion and diverse recruitment resources for female gradutes and STEM employers.
- The Women’s Engineering Society is a charity and a professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists, that supports and encourages women throughout their personal development.
- Corgi is a community of Undergraduate Women in Tech that gives students the opportunity to connect, learn and support each other in the early stages of their careers.
- STEMinist is a website full of blogs, articles and networking opportunities for Women in STEM.
- Girl Geeks is an organisation that aims to support women throughout theit STEM education and career development.
- The WISE Campaign encourages females to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and maths and show them the opportunities available to them at professional levels.
Women In STEM Mini-Series
For more information on Women In STEM and what it is like to work within a related career, listen to our Women in STEM mini-series. In each episode, we chat with women from science, technology, engineering and maths careers discuss what their day-to-day looks like and how you can follow in their footsteps.