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Who should run the world? Girls!

Jun 10, 2013   |   by Cindy Riley   |   Mediaplanet

  • Question: Why don’t more women work in STEM fields?
  • Answer: Because most girls aren’t educated about their career options at the K -12 level.

In a technology-driven world where scientists seek cures for disease and researchers develop renewable energy, STEM careers seem a promising choice for tomorrow’s leaders. But too many women, girls and minorities are failing to explore these options.

Women in STEM fields

“It’s pretty discouraging in fields like computer science and engineering,” admits Christianne Corbett, Senior Researcher at the American Association of University Women (AAUW).“The percentage of women graduating with computer science degrees is actually declining in recent decades, in contrast to engineering, where women’s representation is still low but gradually growing. In both, only about 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees go to women, and women make up less than 15 percent of the engineering workforce.”

Corbett explains, “Engineering and high-tech jobs are a big part of the STEM labor market. These jobs tend to be creative, well-paying, challenging, and where women are least well represented.”

Changing perceptions

Vicki May
Professor Vicki May

Vicki May, PhD, Associate Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth, believes students should be educated about their options at the K-12 level.

“Research has shown once students are exposed to engineering, their perceptions often change. Women and minorities should pursue STEM careers, because STEM careers can be fun and fulfilling.” Dr. May says diversity in her field also allows for different perspectives.

“Encourage girls and minorities to tinker, be creative, be curious about how things work, and persist. Everyone can do engineering.”

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