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Women in STEM and STEAM: Today and Tomorrow

In a world where women have more opportunity than ever before, they remain underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). This is no secret to educators, nor is it a surprise to employers seeking to diversify their workforce.

Women and STEM

Statistics from the National Girls Collaborative Project indicate that the K-12 gender gap is greatest in the areas of engineering and computer science, particular at the AP level. Additional data from Girls Who Code shows that while 74% of girls in middle school have an interest in STEM, less than 1% go on to enroll in a computer science degree program.

When it comes to higher education, young women received 50% of all engineering and science degrees in 2013. Yet, their pursuit of computer science and engineering degrees remained low at 17.9% and 19.3%, respectively. This disparity carries over to the workforce with only 29% of science and engineering roles held by women.

Additional STEM job data is available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report titled STEM Occupations: Past, Present, and Future.

Gaining STEAM

Adding the Arts into the equation (STEAM) has emerged as a vehicle for engaging more women. The approach gives greater credence to creative thinking and artistic innovation as important contributions to the STEM disciplines.

The Women in STEAM website addresses the importance of a female perspective in business and industry, showcasing women of all ages who are making a difference ... from discoveries in outer space to breakthroughs in medical research.

Opportunities in STEM Education

Research has shown that ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and the level of parental education can also have an impact on women seeking out STEM degrees and careers. The good news is that there are dozens of scholarships available for college-bound women to follow their dreams to become scientists, engineers, researchers, coders, and more.

Wings Worldquest™, STEM Study, and Scholarships for Women provide listings of scholarship opportunities based on varying criteria. Even the Department of the Defense has a STEM scholarship program, from undergraduate to PhD.

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