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The growing gap of gender diversity in STEM

In my opinion, declaring that men and women think differently is not controversial.  Countless studies have proven both the strengths and weaknesses of men and women in terms of how each gender processes information.  Despite the differences, both men and women ultimately have similar goals of success in their work, whatever that may be.  When highlighting STEM, what women value in their career is interesting when compared to male counterparts.

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, citing the NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2016 report, in focusing on science and engineering at the undergraduate level “women receive over half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they receive far fewer in the computer sciences (17.9%), engineering (19.3%), physical sciences (39%) and mathematics (43.1%).”  This is an interesting fact when considering that women receive 50.3% of all science and engineering bachelor degrees.

This means that women are interested in STEM, just not in the areas of technology and engineering.  Judith Spitz, former Verizon CIO “recently noted that of the STEM disciplines, tech has actually seen a decrease” in women in the workforce.  Spitz explains that “low levels of employment for women in tech are exacerbated by lower levels of women in leadership roles.”

“Currently the highest-paying tech job in the New York market is an application developer, and 80 percent of these jobs are held by men. The lowest paying job in the tech field is as a medical lab technician, and more than 60 percent of those jobs are held by a women,” states Spitz.

These percentages, however alarming, are accurate and may directly correlate to why there is a 50 percent regression rate of women with careers in STEM, according to the Harvard Business Review.

To spur female participation in technology and engineering, I think it’s a good idea to take a page from the Google Manifesto and promote the areas differently focusing on the creativity, people, and community change of the industries.  People’s reasoning for choosing certain industries are complex, but if we continue to promote sectors like tech and engineering the same way, we can expect the same results.  Organizations like Girls Who Code is a perfect example of this and I expect more to follow.

https://www.inc.com/molly-reynolds/game-changing-diversity-lessons-from-women-in-tech.html

https://ngcproject.org/statistics

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