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The Shortage of Women in STEM Explained


A representation of the disparity of women and men in STEM fields.

Given the significant shortage of skilled U.S. women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), SolidWorks' Marie Planchard suggests encouraging girls with a compelling image of their future lives in STEM.

Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

There is a significant shortage of skilled U.S. women pursuing science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) fields, writes SolidWorks' Marie Planchard.

She notes studies commissioned by Microsoft show male students are more likely to pursue STEM because they have always enjoyed games and toys that are focused on their chosen subject area.

Planchard says adults should give girls a compelling image of their future selves, helping them focus on fun, problem-solving projects in the classroom and after school. Skilled educators also should integrate a STEM curriculum and apply the fundamentals learned in the different areas to new problems.

In addition, teachers can invite parents in STEM-based professions to work with students in the classroom, discuss their jobs, or assist with after-school activities related to STEM.

Planchard notes a program called DIGITS enables engineers to go to classrooms with very young students to talk about their work and share examples from the STEM arena based on a child’s name. For example, if a person's name is Anna, the topic could be aerospace, while for Natasha, it could be nuclear.

Children considering a STEM career also should be reminded to remain persistent because STEM careers are not easy, although they can be fun and exciting.

From Fast Company
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