One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. Weve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that weve got a whole bunch of talent not being encouraged the way they need to. – President Barack Obama
In last month’s blog spotlight on STEM Education Coalition, we shared some ideas about the effect STEM education will have on the future of our nation’s workforce and economy. WVCO is comprised of numerous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics innovators and we value the growth of STEM education and training in this country and around the world.
It is widely believed an increase of skilled workers are needed in the STEM fields for our economy to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Yet, for some reason, women and other minority groups are underrepresnted in these fields.
An Executive Summary by the Economics and Statistics Administration states that:
Nearly half of the US workforce are women, yet they’ve held less than 25% of STEM jobs consistently over the last decade.
Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs.
Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in
Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM
occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.
“Supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of Americas strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves,” states the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation”.
Science and Engineering fields are in need strong innovators regardless of gender, background and nationality. However, there is little doubt that attracting more women and girls as well as other underrepresented groups into STEM programs will help to make our workforce even stronger and more prepared for the future.