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2018 Women in Engineering Empowerment Essay – Danielle Brown

2018

Women in STEM: Solving the Representation Issue

Former President of the United States of America Barack Obama once said “when women of colour aren’t given the opportunity to live up to their God given potential we all lose out on their talents” which directly applies to the under representation of all women in STEM. The underlying issue with the lack of women in STEM is the idea that women must be submissive to men. This way of thinking is deeply engrained in our society. While women have made many great strides to make themselves equal with men, the STEM field still struggles with equality. To improve representation of women in STEM, universities should all have a club specifically designed for women in STEM to help better connections and improve resources.

            A club designated for women in STEM creates a safe space for women looking to pursue a career in a related field. It is a chance to get away from what is often a ‘boys club’ and find comfort in knowing that there is a group of people looking to make a difference. This club could provide students with connections to older female mentors who have careers in STEM. They could talk about how they overcame obstacles in school and share insight as an experienced woman in STEM. The club could also have an outreach team that acts as a liaison to elementary schools and high schools. It is important to allow girls to explore their interests in STEM at a young age so they can get involved sooner. It is also crucial to build confidence at a young age and encourage girls to break the stigma that says they are not as smart as boys. Starting clubs like this at multiple universities also heightens the chances of breaking barriers of entry to leadership positions in the work force. TechCrunch reports that “just 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women”. Not only does this deter women from applying to upper level positions because they feel like they will not get the job, businesses are missing out on the diverse talents women bring to the table. Being a part of a STEM club in university gives women experience to add to a resume to give them an edge when applying to jobs and the confidence they need to apply for leadership positions.

            Starting a club in university has its obstacles. For example, funding for events and renting a meeting space. Since the club promotes women in the workplace, STEM companies would want to support it because it makes them look good and also creates connections being the university and soon-to-be graduates looking for a job. Fundraising with different events is also an option. The club will need to be run by extremely passionate volunteers who care about the future of women in STEM. Improving the representation of women in STEM not only improves the workplace but it makes the world a better, more diverse place.