Introducing The Next Generation Of Leaders And Thinkers

Why Being a Woman in the STEM Field Matters

As society has slowly become accepting of women pursuing higher education and some of them wanting a degree in STEM, many problems still surround women. Rather than allow these problems to generate once they graduate or first decide to be part of a male dominated field, we need to teach young women that it is possible for them to be successful despite gender.

When it comes to graduating with a bachelors degree, women bypass men when looking at graduates in a general sense, but what happens when we look at specifics fields, the numbers completely change. In 2013 women took over half the bachelor degrees in biological sciences but when you take a look at mathematics, physical sciences, engineering, and computer sciences, where it was only 17.9%, it is evident that women still struggle to find a middle ground with their male counterparts. The problem does not stem from these number but rather why women opt out of being in STEM.

As a woman in STEM, I see a lot of the problems that women face compared to men. When I mention to men that I’m in engineering they immediately feel intimidated, even if they are engineering majors themselves. Many responses I get is that I must be a really smart or I get snarky remarks about how I must be a “know it all feminist”. The thought of being a woman that takes on hard classes and seeks to get a high paying job hurts men’s masculinity. Ultimately though, it hurts women because they do not want to be viewed as man haters that think of themselves “above” men.

A lot of times women also come across the lack of support from society. Women have always been viewed as caretakers. Throughout time, women have been pushed into taking lower paid jobs such as teaching because a women’s duty is to “look after children”. Sometimes its not even people saying these words, but it’s the mass media that makes women quit or rethink being in STEM. Not only is their a lack of representation of women as scientists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. but every time a woman is portrayed as intelligent and successful, the character is depicted as weird, stuck up, and often times someone who spent too much working so she ended up bitter and living alone.

This wrongful and lack of representation not only limits the amount of role models a young girl can have but it gives them the wrong idea of what a hardworking women looks like.

As women in STEM, odds are against us for failure. With a lack motivation, support, and respect, it is complicated for women to continue in a field that makes it hard for them to obtain a degree and even more difficult in the work force. At the end it is up to us to bypass the struggles and create success in a male dominated field.

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