Let’s talk about… the STEM Gap!
5 reasons why we need more women in STEM.24 Mar 2023
Women but also people of color and individuals from low-income households or marginalized communities are under-represented in the so-called STEM professions. As soon as more than one of these conditions is met (gender, race, religion) they experience discrimination even more and are more likely invisible. There is an urgent need for women from all backgrounds to become visible and to work in STEM professions today!
Here are 5 reasons why we need more women in STEM:
1. Address the growing shortage of skilled workers
In the coming years many people who work in STEM professions are retiring.
In 2018 almost one out of three STEM specialists in Germany was older than 55. This calls for a high demand of qualified junior staff. Technological progress is also likely to increase the need for qualified STEM professionals in the future, especially IT professionals. The best example is the dynamically advancing digitization of almost all areas of life and work.
2. Improve women's safety in all fields of life
It is crucial for scientific research to acknowledge the biological differences between the genders. Unfortunately, the majority of research does not take gender diversity into account and instead uses the male body as the norm. This standardization can lead to inaccurate results. For instance, heart diseases have distinct symptoms and treatments for men and women. Since women are often excluded from research studies, we need more female scientists to address these gaps.
3. Create more leadership roles for women in all job areas
More visibility of women in higher-paying jobs can also make up for the lack of female leaders in other professions. When they are more present, contributing their opinions, creativity, and knowledge, ultimately everyone benefits.
4. Combat gender stereotypes
Women are better educators and men have a better understanding of technology. These stereotypical clichés are already internalized by children at school. While girls are better at writing and reading, boys are more ambitious in sciences and sports and see everything as a competition. It is important to break down these stereotypical gender roles and encourage more girls to enter male-dominated professions.
5. Provide more female role models
When we think of famous scientists what comes to mind first are names like Einstein, Darwin and others. The history is mainly written by men. According to a Microsoft study in 2018, there is a clear correlation between the presence of role models and girls' interest in STEM careers. Young women and girls were surveyed throughout Europe, and a very clear picture emerged, particularly in Germany: 44 percent of girls and young women with a unique role model reported an interest in STEM subjects, compared to only 22 percent of those without one. Girls still have fewer role models who can spark their interest in fields like science and engineering and we must change it, now!
* Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis) 2023
* Bundesagentur für Arbeit Statistik (2019)
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