How We Can Continue to Empower Women in STEM
According to recent studies, the presence of women in STEM career fields is on the rise. Stats compiled by BigRentz reveal that in 2020 alone, the number of women in positions in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics increased nearly 18%, while women occupying leadership positions in STEM fields rose to 19.2%.
Though these annual increases are promising, there are persistent gender gaps in STEM careers that contribute to STEM’s overall diversity problem. Nevertheless, it’s important to celebrate the strides women are making across the world so that we keep moving in a positive direction.
Analyzing the Number of Women in STEM Occupations
Women have an ever-growing presence in life sciences, making up nearly 50% of all biological scientists and almost a third of worldwide researchers. Pioneers like Dr. Jane Goodall, a world-famous anthropologist, paved the way for countless women in life science professions over the last several decades. Also, women are slowly but surely rising in technical professions and the physical sciences thanks to trailblazers like NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.
Along with the professional world, women’s representation sees consistent improvements in STEM education. Every year, STEM college programs see a 6% increase in registration among women, and as of 2020, over half of the college-educated workforce was populated by women. Plus, girls in grade school continue to outdo their male peers in test scores each year.
Overcoming the Gender Gap in STEM
As we strive to close the gaps that exist between men and women in STEM, experts predict that women will reach completely equal industry representation by around 2045. While this may seem far off, there is a lot we can do to speed up the race to this goal.
First and foremost, closing the pay gap will make a huge difference in squashing workplace inequalities. Industries must also appoint more women to leadership and decision-making positions and include more women in major projects. Aside from more concrete goals, we can’t fully encourage women’s success without eliminating both large and small-scale discrimination in the workplace.
We should also be making these same efforts for young girls throughout their education. Empowering girls in early education can encourage them to stay the course with their ambitions, STEM and non-STEM alike, once they go into higher education and the workforce. This starts with being more conscious of the media we present to young girls and making an effort to produce more media that depicts women succeeding in STEM.
Ultimately, women continue to prove each day that the future of STEM is female. If we want to reach true gender equality in STEM fields, we have to cheer on girls’ aspirations from a young age and provide them with ample resources and opportunities to make those aspirations a reality.
For more information and stats on women in STEM, explore this detailed visual from BigRentz below. Be sure to check out this timeline of suffrage success from GirlSpring in celebration of Women’s History Month!
Mike Floeck is a writer for BigRentz covering architecture, sustainable construction methods and green building technology.