Women in STEM

When most people think of a scientist, we picture a man wearing a white lab coat. When we think of engineers, we think of
I'm an apprentice welder and fabricator. I love my job, but I get negative comments from people when I tell them what I do and it needs to stop. Because I'm a female in a male-dominated environment, people say things to me like 'get back in the kitchen' or 'aren't you scared you might break a nail?'
Girls today may be the first generation able to end the hugely uneven mix of boys and girls going into STEM-related careers. All sorts of factors are now in place to allow girls to follow the passions that suit them, not just those that fit with gender stereotypes. However, to really achieve this, we need adults (parents in particular) to avoid sending out the message that some activities and careers are 'not for girls' or 'not for boys'.
From building oil rigs to working on biomechanical implant materials, engineering is a varied, innovative and inspirational global profession that is always evolving. Encouraging girls to actively consider a STEM career is crucial if our prospective designers, engineers, technologists and innovators are to have access to the full range of skills and talents needed to take on the challenges and opportunities of future generations.
Women in STEM and women in business have much to offer each other. The low prevalence of women in both fields indicate that something is amiss in our STEM and business environments. If we could figure out what we can do together, more women will remain in STEM and business and benefit each other.
As long as men in STEM continue to unconsciously perpetuate poor workplace habits through lack of confidence we'll have a big problem on our hands. A diverse workforce is maintained by a combination of retention, attraction and hiring of diverse talent. Improving men's willingness and ability to challenge these norms, and redefine the status quo, will help to ensure that we have a comprehensive solution.
ScienceGrrl released a report on the cultural barriers faced by girls and young women pursuing STEM. While it's easy to nod while reading the points raised in it, I'd like to take on a more cheerful perspective on how to solve the underrepresentation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Here are three advantages STEM-literate women have:
As an arts aficionada taking STEM subjects - in my case mathematics and information engineering, and computer science later this year - I've noticed several beliefs that people who tend to avoid STEM hold. By changing these beliefs, I'm sure more girls will find STEM relevant and worth putting effort into.
The problems at school are largely cultural, being affected by societal and parental expectations as well as those of peers and teachers. Stereotypes abound. If girls are expected simply to wear pink and model themselves on Disney princesses they may be reluctant to admit to a burning love for mathematics or chemistry.
The tech industry has women trouble. By the end of this year only 25% of tech jobs will be held by women. But in the cyber security industry where I work this ratio would be a dream come true - only 10% of information security professionals are women.