STEM Classes and career still dominated by males
Research findings published by Dr. Shalini Kesar from Southern Utah University, in cooperation with Microsoft, reveal that despite national efforts a gender gap remains in STEM fields.
Their main research findings show that:
* Girls and young women have a hard time picturing themselves in STEM roles. They need more exposure to STEM jobs, female role models, and career awareness and planning.
* Girls don’t initially see the potential for careers in STEM to be creative or have a positive impact on the world. But even a little exposure to real-world applications of STEM knowledge dramatically changes their outlook.
* Girls who participate in STEM clubs and activities outside of school are more likely to say they will pursue STEM subjects later in their education. The kinds of experiments and experiences girls are exposed to in these activities can provide insights for how to enhance STEM instruction in the classroom.
* Encouragement from teachers and parents makes a big difference in girls’ interest in STEM—especially when it comes from both teachers and parents.
* Educators can foster a “growth mindset” among their female students by tapping into their willingness to work hard for results.
This prompted me to take a look at our own data at Lewis. I was pleased to discover that our enrollment of women in traditional STEM fields is currently at 35%.
With so many of the future jobs and careers projected to be in STEM fields, we all have to continue to find ways to encourage more women to pursue these majors.