June 18, 2012

Girls in STEM

Because it's cool, because we need to encourage more girls to go into STEM fields in general, because we need to ensure girls know they can study any field a boy can, and because it's cool, I give you (with permission) "Girls are Smarter than Boys", by Jen Rhee via Engineering Degrees:

"The science, technology, engineering, and math workforce is crucial to the economy and even though women represent more than half of the world’s population, women hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. In elementary, middle school, and high school, girls actually take more classes and earn better grades in math and sciences. As women progress into college, a decline in interest in math and sciences occurs and declines further at the graduate level and yet again in the professional level.
While biological differences may play a factor, though it’s still not yet fully understood, they are not the whole story. This infographic will tell you what girls go through during school that ultimately has them careers outside of science, technology, engineering, and math."

Yes, please!

I'm lucky enough to be working in a job that satisfies both my interests (and degrees): library science, and astronomy. When I was in high school and applied for a scholarship to study mechanical engineering, I was told by quite a few folks (both classmates and a couple of counselors) that I shouldn't hold my breath, since that wasn't a "good field for girls". I tell you, at graduation I sure as heck strutted my stuff, as one of only four to get scholarships in this field, and the only female! I swapped from MechE to Astronomy & Physics as time went on (and I learned that no, MechE and astrophysics really didn't have all that much in common) and while there were more women in the classes, it was still very heavily male. I look around the research institution with whom MPOW is housed, and there's a lot more men than women... but that trend is starting to change, as MPOW at least has several female astronomers on staff, and my direct project has a near half-and-half balance in the engineering staff. So there's hope!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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