There is a problem in STEM.
Women are grossly underrepresented in the upper echelons of STEM careers.
Globally, women have achieved parity right up to the Masters level; however, there is a leaky pipeline beyond. For example, despite female Master's graduate students making up 53% of graduates, only 28% of researchers are females globally. Additionally, nearly 600 people have won Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine and only 17 of them have been women.
This MUST change.
The global problems we now face need more than 21st century skills to solve. As many unique perspectives as possible are needed to identify key problems and innovate diverse solutions. We need gender neutral teams tackling these problems and finding solutions, otherwise we will all lose out.
The STEM problem is NOT due to biological differences.
The STEM problem is NOT due to lack of interest from females.
The STEM problem is a systemic sociocultural issue.
Society inculcates in us gender-role stereotypes from within the womb. Implicit biases are imprinted onto our psyches from day one, which then work to motivate and shape each of us in ways that limit female advancement.
We need to shift our focus from band-aid solutions that focus solely on engaging girls in STEM. This merely perpetuates the notion that something is deficient in females.
Women are already interested in STEM.
Women are equally capable in STEM.
The implicit biases that both women and men have, create concrete barriers for women and minorities in STEM. Therefore both women and men need to be part of the solution.
We all need to be concious of how implicit biases are formed and how they influence our perception of ourselves and others. Only then can we make real progress toward a STEMneutral future.
We need to neutralize the bias.