A Word From NCMC Section Chairs - Science

25 Feb 2021 7:01 PM | Anonymous

Celebrate Women in Science

Karl McKinnon

According to Ishani Singh’s article, By the Numbers: Women in STEM: What do the statistics reveal about ongoing gender disparities? (Yale Scientific, November 27, 2020) by the time children reach middle school more than twice as many boys as girls will say they are planning on being employed in a science, math, or engineering related job.

Even more distressing is the statistic that once young women enter college and complete their first year of undergraduate classes in science and engineering, 49.2 percent of them will switch to a non-STEM major. Only 32.5 percent of men will change their science and engineering to a non-STEM major after their first year.

Nationally it is reported that women make up 57.3 percent of bachelor degree recipients with STEM bachelor degrees  making up only 38.6 percent of those degrees. Factor in underrepresented minority women and we find that they earn only 16.6 percent of undergraduate degrees with 9.16 percent of those degrees being in science and engineering.

As the leaky pipeline progresses the outcome is that women only represent 29 percent of the STEM workforce. At our institutions of higher learning women only make up 34.5 percent of faculty (Black women only 1.5 percent).

Women comprise three-quarters of health care practitioners and technicians, the largest occupational cluster classified as STEM, with 9.0 million workers – 6.7 million of whom are women.

 The Pew Research Center reports in, Seven Facts about the STEM Workforce, that non-STEM workers with a Master’s Degree earn 26 percent less that STEM workers. A typical full-time STEM worker earns $54,745 while a similarly educated non-STEM worker earns $40,505.

To say we need to encourage young girls to become interested in science and to become scientists is a tremendous understatement. As members of the informal and formal science platform we can take an active role in promoting science and technology with our female guests and program participants.

To aide us in this pursuit we can use resources such as 40 Important STEM Resources For Womenproduced by TeachThought. Another contemporary and timely collection of video resources discussing the fight against COVID-19 has been produced by boClips to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science(February 11, 2021). These resources represent a great taking off point for future inquiry and thought. Who knows? Maybe a young lady in one of your programs could be the scientist that crushes the next pandemic.

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