| Home |

The Benefit of Women in STEM Careers

Saturday 13 June 2015 at 6:51 pm.

Changing Definitions is tackling the issues worth changing in this world. This month’s definition, the scientist. We often think of a scientist as a white man, in a white lab coat. That American man has glasses and is working with test tubes while peering into the occasional microscope. There are many issues with that statement, and with the unnoticeable natural bias all Americans have. Whether you like it or not, this, unfortunately, is what society has come to. 

Women and minorities don’t feel accepted and welcomed into certain fields, such as science, technology, engineering, and math. It’s not only that we see a white, American man, it’s the way he’s doing science. Not every scientist has test-tubes and microscopes, and certainly does not work in a lab coat. From engineers working on the Mars rover, to staticians making graphs and collecting data, to technical scientists working on computer software and hardware. 

“Male engineers seem to have credibility automatically until they say or do something to change someone's mind. As a woman, it's the opposite. I feel like most people assume I don't know what I'm talking about until I demonstrate that I do, and even then, it's not enough. Women frequently need to re-establish that credibility” (Katie Dunn, aerospace engineer).

Why should there be more women in science? Because why shouldn’t there be? When 13 women working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) were asked why there should be more women in science, their answers were almost exactly the same. Ultimately, with more women involved, more views and perspectives are added, meaning better teamwork and a better quality of work that is produced. “I absolutely believe that we do need more women in STEM fields, but it's not just as simple as hiring more women. Rather, STEM fields need to be made more welcoming to anyone who is different (far beyond gender and race). Beyond the argument that we need equality, people from different backgrounds come up with very different solutions to problems. For instance, scheduling software written by a college student with a lot of free time will look very different from scheduling software written by a single mom” (Thursday Bram, technical writer).

Many responses showed their own personal experiences about how women offer different perspectives to solving problems. However, while listening to these personal experiences that these women have to face, and still have to face, you would never know how much a women had to go through to be called “a woman in science”. It saddens me that this is the 21st century, and women still are not equal to men. This is what this issue is for. To empower young girls, through inspiring role models and stories, explain how you can encourage your girls at home, and share real women’s themselves writing why they think math and science is so much fun. Our latest issue will have you reconsider your views on the “American Dream". 

We women can push through this unfortunate barrier, and we will pick our career based on what we want to pursue, not on how hard it is to get there. In the words of Malala Yousafzai, “We cannot all succeed if half of us are held back.” Let’s empower the new generation of women.