While women account for half of the workforce, they make up barely 24 percent of jobs in the STEM field. This definitely not old news. For as long as we can remember, women have been fighting their own wars for hundreds of years when it comes to being recognized and treated equally in the workplace.
“If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off… no matter what they say.” — Barbara McClintock, winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
While barriers from the law are long gone, our goal now is to undo these hundreds of years of career stigmas and stereotypes surrounding women; and it all starts by empowering today’s generation of girls.
Here are five leading organizations in the US and Canada who are actively making fem, the new STEM:
1. SciGirls: The main goal of SciGirls is not only changing the way girls view STEM, but also the world’s view towards females in STEM careers. SciGirls work towards creating a more equitable and acceptable environment for girls to feel welcome in the STEM field. To do this, they emphasize creating a culturally responsive learning environment that not only encourages girls but inspires them. Recently, SciGirls published a book outlining the best education approaches with proven methods shown to engage elementary school girls in science and math. Moreover, SciGirls is known for their hit television show on PBS that acts on cutting edge research relating to girls in STEM. Their website and educational out-reach program engage girls in STEM careers with their efforts reaching over 14 million girls worldwide.
2. 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures: Established by The New York Academy for Sciences, it is essentially a mentoring program between high school girls and real scientists and engineers. Girls around the world ages 13–17 can apply to be a part of the program to receive counsel work, leadership, and university preparation. This program is a fun safe place where girls can communicate with female STEM role models and attend fun online events, book club events, and communicating with leaders around the world. Moreover, girls can connect with mentors any time, anywhere making it super easy to integrate into a high school schedule. Participants gain access to coursework and discussions on Schoology as well as 1-year free membership to The New York Academy of Sciences.
3. Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades, and Technology: The CCWESTT is a non-profit, voluntary organization consisting of various individuals and groups who collectively advocate for diverse and inclusive STEM workplaces. This organization strives for not only inclusion but respect and integrity. With their members are located all over Canada and range in different fields from science, engineering, technology, and math, they advocate Canada as a country with a diverse and inclusive workforce and one where everyone is respected. Part of achieving this includes holding conferences that bring together others in positions of leadership in which they work towards building relationships and finding allies. All in all, CCWESTT provides opportunities for members to speak out as a unified voice to a greater audience.
4. Society for Canadian Women in Science or Technology: The goal of The SCWIST is to create an environment where women and girls can pursue careers in the STEM field without any systemic barriers. Overall, SCWIST provides leadership and mentorship to young girls with aspiring interests in STEM as well as activities to keep those interests alive. They strive to tear down career stereotypes surrounding women by raising awareness and advocating for inclusiveness within the STEM field by advocating for equitable practices in schools, workplaces, and the government. They work on fostering personal connections through professional and networking ways that will benefit the community. Most importantly, to boost the participation of women and girls in the STEM workforce they have provided over $11 000 in youth scholarships and have gathered almost 10 000 youth in participation events. On their website, you can learn all about the history of women in STEM and those who helped shape and define what we know today.
5. hEr VOLUTION: Based in Toronto, hEr VOLUTION is an organization dedicated to providing education in programming to equip youth in underdeveloped communities. Done so with pride, their goals are honored by five core values: integrity, respect, accountability, reach, and equity. By respecting these five traits they are able to achieve their goals in the most efficient and honorable way. Part of this goal includes offering a four-week program called STEM-ing Up in which girls aged 14–17 can attend that teaches them skills in coding, leadership, and problem-solving. In partnership with Humber College, young women will learn Design Thinking, Coding App Building, Front/Backend Developing, Prototyping, Analytical Thinking, Business, and Leadership Skills. In addition, they have been covered by numerous media outlets as well as have been named one of the top 75 STEM blogs.
Want to learn more about gender disparity in the workplace and how it’s affecting the youth of today? Click here to read our infographic!