Let us stop and think, would you say that a lot has changed for women since 1950s? The Cold War; Civil Rights; Elvis Presley; and yet, despite how different America may seem on so many levels from the 1950s, one thing remains the same. The most common job for American women is secretary. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, the top five jobs for women in 2010 changed very little from 1950’s. Back in the ’50s, women most commonly held positions as secretaries, bank tellers, sales clerks, private household workers, and teachers.
What about 2010? The number one in 2010 remains secretary, following by cashier, elementary and middle school teacher, nurse and nursing aide. Can you say it remains the same in 2019? In 2019, more women pursue STEM-based careers, then 70 years ago. STEM focuses on a curriculum that teaches women in four areas: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; still, the fields of STEM have remained mostly male. The government can aid by developing laws and creating policies in the work force. Business leaders can adapt policies for equal opportunity and diversity in industry, and academic institutions can promote higher acceptance rate for females in STEM education. Aiding women to achieve in STEM education has three benefits: economic, educational, and creating role models for future innovators.
The first benefit of women in STEM education is economic aspects within the country and in the business industry. According to Aaron J. Fisher, in an article entitled “Structure and belonging. Pathway to success for underrepresented minority and women PhD students in STEM fields”, dated January 9th, 2019, from Gale Group, “As the world changes to a growing digital economy, ending the gender pay gap in STEM education and empower women economically and to address the shortage of skilled individuals play a crucial part worldwide”. To address the STEM gender gap on a global level, the United States work industries must continue supporting girls’ education and their introduction into STEM fields. Over the next ten years increasing women participants in STEM careers has the power to close the gender gap and boost women’s cumulative earnings by $299 billion, advancing global economic development and promote gender equality worldwide. Therefore, the participation of girls’ in STEM education grants an opportunity for the United States and other nations around the world to support economies for future generations. It is a smart, sustainable asset that will endorse both gender equality and prosperity.
In addition to improving women in STEM education in economic aspect, they have also benefit in educational opportunities. According to Brian M. Donovan, in an article entitled “Revising the economic imperative for US STEM education.’, dated January 2014, from Gale Group, “STEM education will aid the younger generation to use their skills in the critical situations”. There are several real-world problems that need attention to, includes: preventing soil erosion, growing food during a natural disaster, solving a city’s design, creating clean water, and so on. The STEM project such as preventing soil erosion, calculating wave energy to determine best materials to build a seawall to protect a coastline from erosion. A natural disaster like floods devastate communities and can make it difficult to grow food. In this project, students explore a problem faced by farmers to grow food even when the land is flood. Additionally, there are problems on a global level where communities around the world do not have access to clean water. In this project, young adults will learn how to build and try their own water filtration systems. By solving these critical situations, students will develop STEM-based skills, such as: creativity and inquiry skills, science and mathematics skills, engineering-based thinking skills. Creativity and Inquiry skill are based on multiple mistakes, failed attempts, and making decisions based on information to understand how to improve ideas further. The science and mathematics skills that are taught in school are the foundation of STEM and must be applied in search of resolutions.
The use of engineering-based thinking, young adults must recognize the problem at hand, research, design, test, and repeat these steps as needed; each step moves student closer to creating a functional solution. Children with STEM educations score higher on the SATs and take fewer courses when they enter college. According to Carolien Van Soom, in an article entitle “Profiling First-Year Students in STEM Programs Based on Autonomous Motivation and Academic Self-Concept and Relationship with Academic Achievement”, dated November 12, 2014, from Gale Group, “Showing students that college is achievable will aid more students to take STEM pathways”. Even if they don’t choose a STEM-related career, they’ll still be successful in whatever field they pursue.