What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?
Our STEM fields need to be more relatable for people of all different backgrounds. To increase diversity, we need everyone to understand and connect not only to the work, but to the community of people who perform that work. When you can see someone that looks like you excelling in STEM, or hear about someone engaged in their STEM career, who would take every opportunity to showcase our existing diversity in STEM, that helps open the door for others. By amplifying the visibility and voices of the diverse group of individuals engaged in a STEM career today, we can help the next generation see themselves in STEM roles.
How is the world changing with respect to STEM?
More and more, we see STEM integrating into every aspect of the world from the way farmers plant crops to how we order our food. When you look at the current trend in AI technology, coupled with its ease of availability, you see that the role of STEM will only continue to expand in our everyday lives. Through this expansion, there will naturally be more opportunities for learning and new roles will be created within STEM. We need to be sure we keep pace with these changes and bring diverse groups into these new roles, ensuring that we have the foundation to build the best solutions possible.
What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
Women in STEM need visible role models and vocal advocates. We need to celebrate the women in STEM who are successful and promulgate their stories. By sharing their journeys and successes, these women set the stage as role models for others, enabling them to see a path forward in STEM. Once they can see that path, we need to help enable them along the way. Each of us can support a woman entering the STEM field through mentorship or advocacy. As a mentor, you can provide guidance, encouragement, and feedback to help women as they navigate the field. When you act as an advocate, you can give a voice to someone who may not have found theirs yet in the field. Or, you can take the opportunity to raise up a woman who may not be in the room to promote her own skills and capabilities. These roles are all necessary to bring women forward in STEM.