What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

To ensure greater diversity in STEM, it’s crucial that we address the educational inequities that exist across age groups, especially among young children. Unfortunately, many elementary-aged students become discouraged by the challenges they face in science and math, which serve as the foundation for STEM careers. To combat this, we need to increase diversity among teaching staff and create volunteer programs that bring in diverse individuals from STEM fields. By doing so, children will see more representation of themselves throughout their education and have access to mentors who can provide them with early support and encouragement. A more diverse teaching and support staff can help eliminate self-doubt among students and dispel the belief that “no one who looks like me is good at this.”

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

To enhance women’s involvement, we need a multi-pronged approach—first and foremost, encouraging girls’ interest in STEM from a young age remains vital to combating any gender stereotypes. The presence of female role models in STEM can also inspire these younger generations to pursue their passions and goals. That’s especially important for me. I want to show young women that you can take a chance and be successful in STEM, or any industry, no matter your circumstance. Secondly, implementing policies that foster inclusive, bias-free environments in education and workplaces is crucial, as is recognizing the unique work-life challenges many women face. Lastly, investing in women-specific scholarships, networking opportunities, and leadership training in STEM is key—sharing our knowledge with one another and empowering each other should remain at the forefront, and while progress may be gradual, every step forward is significant in paving the way for a more inclusive and innovative future in STEM.

What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

Being a woman in STEM shouldn’t be such a big deal in 2023 – yet it is, because we’re still far behind the equality needed to make this field truly successful. Women are not always listened to or treated fairly, and oftentimes, don’t have a strong mentor in their field who believes in and encourages them. Don’t be afraid to follow your passions, even if it resembles a road less traveled. Women standing up and speaking out about their expertise, experience and capabilities is only the beginning. Demand the respect you deserve, pave your own path, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.