We Need More Girls in STEM

Although women make up nearly half of all employees in the U.S. economy, they hold only 28% of STEM jobs. Women of color face an even greater lack of representation, with Black and Hispanic women accounting for only 2% of engineers.

Research shows that young girls like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, but as they get older, they start feeling like STEM isn’t for them based on outdated stereotypes. There is this idea that men are “naturally” better in mathematically demanding disciplines, whereas women excel in fields that require good language skills.  To make matters worse, there are not enough female role models in these fields, so it is difficult for girls to find someone who looks like them.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are projected to grow by ten percent in the next ten years. These are the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs of the future, and these stereotypes are leaving women without these opportunities.

Do stereotypes really impact girls? They do, studies show that girls score lower on math tests, but when test administrators tell students that girls and boys are equally capable in math the difference in performance disappears.

Thirty years ago, there were 13 boys for every girl who scored above 700 on the SAT math exam at age 13; today the ratio is only three boys per girl. Nevertheless, by graduation men outnumber women in nearly every science and engineering field, and in some, such as physics, engineering, and computer science, the difference is dramatic, with women earning only 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees.

If we want girls to succeed in STEM, we have to show them it is possible; we have to break down outdated stereotypes and encourage them to embrace and explore their STEM passions, we have to highlight the work of women changing the world with STEM, and we have to support their confidence in their ability to learn math and science.


At PIQE we understand the importance of STEM for future generations, and thus, we partnered with California State University San Marcos to offer interactive workshops that provide STEM knowledge to families of first-generation Latino university students. The goal is to educate Latino families of the opportunities STEM can provide for their student, so that they can support and encourage their student to graduate with a science degree and pursue a STEM career.

10 Steps to Closing the STEM Gap

  1. Give girls and women the skills and confidence to succeed in math and science.
  2. Raise awareness that girls and women are as capable as boys.
  3. Promote public awareness to parents about how they can encourage daughters as much as sons in math and science.
  4. Teach girls that math skills are learned and change over time — promoting a growth mindset that empowers girls to embrace challenges.
  5. Emphasize strong and visible role models of women in math and science fields.
  6. Improve STEM education and support for girls starting in early education.
  7. Increase awareness of higher education and career opportunities in STEM for girls.
  8. Work to attract, recruit and retain women into STEM majors and fields in colleges and universities.
  9. Prioritize diverse, inclusive and respectful environments, and strong, diverse leadership.
  10. Recruit more women and work to retain and promote women throughout their careers.

Organizations that Support Girls in STEM

The founders of Latinas in STEM are first generation American women who were the first in their families to attend college. This group of Latinas know first-hand the many barriers to entry for women in STEM fields. Their primary purpose is to spread awareness of STEM and to inspire and empower Latina students to pursue a STEM career. 

Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.

This organization provides grants “to broaden the participation of girls and women in all fields of STEM education by supporting research, dissemination of research, and extension services in education that will lead to a larger and more diverse domestic science and engineering workforce.”

It is an international day of celebration that aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and math by encouraging people around the world to talk about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models.

Make sure to check out these wonderful websites.

SOURCES: aauw.org and remezcla.com