As an American manufacturer and a family-owned business, we are constantly looking for ways to support the future of not only our company, but other American manufacturers. We know the impact of STEM education on today's youth and often provide high school and college tours to students who are interested in careers in STEM related fields. We bring students in with their educators, and often other administrators to discuss the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
It's a wonderful thing to see their eyes light up as we tour them through our automated facility and listen as they ask questions about machinery, robotics, plastic, processes and more. The majority of the students are curious, interested, excited. The majority of the students are also male. As a mother to a daughter who is interested in a career in engineering, I know how important it is to get girls involved in these opportunities early on. So what can we do to help nurture these young women and help set them up for a successful career?
Securing a successful STEM future
The American Association for University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. They recently created a report titled Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing that delves into the engineering and computing fields, two STEM fields where there are plenty of available jobs but few that are being filled by women.
“By 2022, the United States will need 1.7 million more engineers and computing professionals. Women — who make up more than half the population — are still significantly underrepresented in these fields. And women’s intellect and voices need to be a part of the technologies and products created by these fields. We know how to solve this equation,” said AAUW Executive Director and CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “It’s 2015. Our country must fully utilize all of its human potential.”
In 1990, 35% of computing jobs were filled by women. By 2013, that number decreased to only 26%. Women in engineering decreased from an already low 12% to just 9%. To understand the factors impacting these trends. the report concentrates on areas such as:
- Combating stereotypes and biases
- Changing the environment
- Preparing K-12 students for engineering and computing
- Training for the workforce
- Structural and cultural barriers
- Women and communal values
The infographic below from AAUW highlights why there are still so few women in engineering and computing fields. The good news is that more than ever before, young girls and women are interested in these technical careers. Everyone can encourage girls and young women to enter fields such as engineering and computing and help transform these STEM fields into places where more women will thrive. #addwomen