As women continue to move forward as leaders in the workforce, there is still a disproportionate number of women involved in the STEM fields. STEM refers broadly to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Recently, there have been several campaigns aiming to encourage young girls to consider STEM in their own studies.
Ivanka Trump – entrepreneur, women’s right activist, and first daughter – talked about the troubling statistic that while women make up 48% of America’s work force, they only make up 24% of STEM professionals.
“This statistic is showing that we are sadly moving in the wrong direction. Women are increasingly underrepresented in important fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. But I dare you to beat these statistics and advance the role of women in STEM fields.”
The statistic mentioned above indicates that women only hold one quarter of all STEM positions professionally. This discrepancy could come from a variety of factors, but Ivanka believes it starts at a young age. The initiatives she and the Trump administration are pushing for focus on encouraging girls to consider STEM from a young age. This would be a distinct change from common perceptions of the past, which oftentimes steered girls away from STEM fields.
Ivanka went on to address the male students in the room, encouraging them to “empower [their] female classmates and support them along the way. The playing field will only be leveled if we can all work together to eliminate these longstanding barriers.”
It is important that both men and women know that we all benefit by working together towards equality. By imploring young male students to support their female counterparts, Ivanka aims to create an environment that fosters women in STEM fields.
The Trump administration recently passed bills that are designed to promote increased opportunities for women in the STEM fields. One is titled “Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act”. The purpose of the bill is “to inspire women to enter the aerospace field, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, through mentorship and outreach.”
These bills aim to begin a time of serious action aimed to inspire girls and women to join STEM fields. They suggest programs to facilitate support and encouragement from a young age all the way to the professional career woman.
By continuing to foster programs like these and speak to girls about the opportunities available in the STEM fields, we can begin to change that horrible statistic to one of equality.
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