There have been many studies concluding that women are underrepresented both in STEM jobs and STEM undergraduate degrees over the last decade. This may be attributable to a variety of factors. These may include different choices men and women typically make in response to incentives in STEM education and STEM employment. For example, STEM career paths may be less accommodating to people cycling in and out of the workforce to raise a family, or it may be because there are relatively few female STEM role models. I believe one of the most important factors is the effect of strong gender stereotypes that influence society at a young age, which discourages women from pursuing STEM education and STEM jobs. The stereotype that boys are better than girls in math and science still negatively affects the performance of girls in these fields. Gender differences in self-confidence in STEM subjects starts in middle school and increases thereafter, with girls being less confident in their math and science abilities. The stereotype where women stay home with the children while the men work and “bring home the bacon” influenced decisions on my educational path and work-related decisions. In today’s economy, choices are limited and a solid education is critical. An education in a STEM field provides a solid road to success. Therefore, a good way to address this gap is to put an end to stereotypes. We can begin in our homes, carry over in educational institutions, and finally in the workplace.
We all must be educators and encourage the development of our STEM workforce. I am proud to say our president is a good example. The Obama Administration launched a STEM education initiative to foster a passion for these subjects among America’s students of all ages, recognizing the value to the United States. These types of activities help to educate society that everyone is equal and everyone has a right to pursue their dreams.
At CSC, our STEM workforce is crucial to our company’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness.