Inspiring communities begin to spring up to foster learning for STEM girls in their latent and creative capabilities in spite of the alarming increase of the gender workforce gap.
Within the science and engineering (S&E) labor force, it used to be so tough for women to break into the field because of the lack of diversity just a few decades ago. Thanks to recognizing how immobilizing social perception is, changes steadily creep into the workplace system as learning opportunities start to be the modern-day study space for the youths.
However, data shows that adapting to these changes may take too long.
In 2016, the National Science Board (NSB) revealed that only twenty-eight percent (28%) of women comprise the S&E labor market despite taking half a chunk of the total college degree holders. And it doesn’t end on just that.
The sex disparity is more pronounced when the data focuses on both men and women who have the highest S&E field expertise and how it relates to its nonparticipation rates.
A data from NCB on 2015 exhibits that fifteen point five percent (15.5%) of women with highest S&E degree holder was off to the labor force, in contrast from the astonishing figure of only seven point six percent (7.6%) of men within their mid to late twenties. This disparity persists from age twenty-five (25) to sixty-four (64) as the data suggests.
Most of the women from the data pointed out that the main reason for putting off professional work was due to family purposes. Forty-four percent (44%) of women confirmed that family propels them to not participate in the labor force while twelve percent (12%) of men reported having a similar reason.
It doesn’t mean that the trend is on a downhill. In fact, the distribution of employment has steadily become brighter for women.
From 1995 to 2015, women in S&E occupations increased from 714,000 to 1,818,000. The growth is greatly evident in Asian and Hispanic groups. Women who identified themselves as black have also increased. A similar trend can be seen in women with the highest degree in S&E field.
Another thing to notice is the salary difference. In general, women and ethnic minority groups tend to have less salary than men and their white peers. The incongruity is more apparent between men and women in terms of annual salary than between racial and ethnic minority groups.
It may not be the most disarming to look at but it doesn’t mean that this data is the leading probable endgame. Despite the disparity gap, things start to get better. And by that, a lot of great communities are ready to help each other out and support S&E aspirants to give boosts from the starting line throughout their career, especially for the STEM girls.
Below are only but a few of inspiring communities that women can be part of the tech revolution.
Girls Who Code is a non-profit community which aims to inspire girls to code by conducting free summer programs and fun school activities after class. It offers summer immersion 7-week program which is directed for middle and high school teens.
The supportive sisterhood promotes to build the talent pipeline for future women engineers and computer science enthusiasts. Learning opportunities while fostering relationships with fellow students and alumni seem to be the community’s way to close the gender disparity in the tech market. Girls Who Code currently operates in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and India.
Girl Develop It (GDI) is committed to empower and build a network for women which they can develop their skills in software development such as coding clean and beautiful mobile and web applications. The community’s only criteria is to be dedicated to learning. They teach women from regardless of which race they came from, educational attainment, income level, and culture. GDI was founded in New York City in 2010 and has been providing affordable programs across sixty (60) cities in the United States.
AkiraChix is another community in the honorable pursuit of nurturing women in Africa. From poor social upbringing, AkiraChix aims to reach out to underprivileged young girls who can’t afford to complete their education. They organize bootcamps, hackathons which they called it as CodeFest, and Girl Geek festival (GGfest) for an open interactive IT challenges participation.
On this year’s November 9th, AkiraChix will have the largest gathering for female tech enthusiasts and programmers in Africa.
Moving forward for better learning
Regardless of the struggling gender gap, the ground will slowly shift for a favorable future when educational communities take the wheel to make the learning experience more approachable for everyone at less cost.
Encouraging young girls in the STEM field and participating in coding events are just a couple of ways to empower women to work together and create a difference in breaking into a more diverse group of leaders in years to come.