What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
It is crucial for women and other underrepresented groups to see industry role models who not only look like them but also have similar life experiences. This type of belonging is the first step to fostering curiosity and promoting a supportive learning environment for underrepresented groups. By promoting diversity in STEM fields, we can tap into a broader range of perspectives, ideas and approaches that can lead to groundbreaking solutions.
It has also been shown that there are clear social impact benefits to diverse participation. A recent article I read highlighted that women and underrepresented groups tend to become more committed towards communal values and goals as they approach adulthood. Therefore, it is imperative for us to showcase the connection between STEM and social relevancy — and ultimately how careers in this field can positively impact real people.
What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
As a society, we must acknowledge the influence of societal beliefs and education on women and girls’ achievements and interest in STEM. Since multiple factors contribute to this imbalance, it is essential to implement a range of solutions. Here are three key areas that require attention:
- Fostering a growth mindset is essential. We must teach girls and young women that intellectual skills can be acquired and developed through effort and perseverance. By promoting this belief, we can empower girls to embrace challenges in STEM fields.
- Early exposure to female STEM role models is crucial. By showcasing successful women in STEM, we can inspire and motivate young girls to pursue their interests in the field.
- Addressing stereotypes is vital because these notions can create a sense of anxiety or doubt in women’s abilities, potentially hindering their performance. By actively confronting and debunking STEM stereotypes, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment that encourages women to thrive.
By addressing these issues, we can create an environment that bridges gaps and propels the advancement of women.