Having just celebrated International Women’s Day, women all over the world have been celebrating the hurdles we have overcome in order to win the pursuit of equality. It is safe to say that over the past 100 years, we have come an awfully long way. However, there are some areas of industry that are still very much male-dominated. One of these is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths).
People will always face certain challenges in their careers. However, there are certain challenges that women face in STEM.
Here are some of them.
It’s a Man’s World
There are still far too many people who see science and technology jobs as more ‘masculine job. This goes back as far as young girls in school being underestimated for their skills in maths and interests in science. Therefore, STEM jobs are seen as less attractive to women and other minorities and damages the confidence of girls from an early age.
Children must be given opportunities to explore STEM and should be introduced to women in leadership roles in STEM in order to build their confidence. They should also learn that the process of designing, building, adjusting and testing can help them to understand the concept of failure and perseverance.
One of the biggest issues that women face in the world of work is the question of when they will have children, and if having children will impact their work. When female professionals have children, they may find themselves in a position where their competence and commitment are questioned. They may also find that opportunities begin to dry up. Women in these sectors have found themselves competing against men who have stay-at-home wives who take care of the children and the home. The assumption is quickly made that they will lose their drive as their lives become more about the children.
Opportunities to Grow and Study
Men in STEM jobs may look around their workplaces and think ‘But there are PLENTY of women here! What’s the problem?’ However, it doesn’t mean that every single opportunity given is an equal one. Roles given to women in a corporate environment will often be admin, clerical, reception, and cleaning roles. Important jobs, sure–but not exactly the same level of opportunity for growth and development.
Many STEM jobs will require a certain level of education, but there are still opportunities for people to learn certain things that do not require formal education or a degree- Coding, for example. However, it doesn’t just mean that women can’t strive for a more ‘hands-on’ job. Use this source, for example, to learn about LVDTs in engineering. There are a number of women who feel pushed out of the industry following their studies due to their lack of confidence in fighting their way through the competition.
STEM is one of the most steady industries that anybody could go into, due to the constant evolution and innovation of this field used by people every day. The key is to educate our kids from early on that all opportunities are equal opportunities.