Increasing Diversity in STEM
Visibility and accessibility are two main criteria which will increase diversity in STEM fields. Most parents from non-academic backgrounds are unaware of the very inclusive opportunities from NASA, NSF and NIH for K-12 and undergraduate students. More community-based programs will help reach out to diverse populations and let the students know about the benefits of STEM fields.
Barriers to Closing the Gender Gap
A sense of belonging and self confidence will motivate women in the STEM field to move forward. Bias, inequality, as well as visibility are other major barriers. Proper unbiased mentoring and guidance will help to lessen the gender gap. Higher motivation, fewer vulnerabilities, and effective support systems are also important factors in closing the gender gap.
The Changing World of STEM
At present, more women and minorities are entering the STEM disciplines, but still the wage gap exists. In academia, there are more women assistant professors than in earlier decades, but there are still very few women full professors, or chairs and deans, in STEM fields. Although lack of diversity still exists in STEM, there has been a 3 percent increase in participation of women in STEM in the last decade.
Moving Women Forward in STEM
Inclusiveness, a sense of belonging, equality, and merit-based programs with scholarship opportunities will help move women forward in STEM. Encouragement, uplifting self-confidence, and engaging role models will help more women to enter and succeed in STEM fields.
Where I See Women in STEM Five Years from Now
Catalyzing innovative community or school-based programs that prepare people to study and work in STEM with more impartial and inclusive agendas will help a new generation of women to commit to the field. The STEM workforce will have more women, as well as more racial and ethnic diversity, in the next five years.
My STEM Wisdom
It is very important to be productive and visible when you are a woman in a STEM career. It is very important to make the non-STEM population understand the importance and outcomes of your STEM work. Therefore, community-based lectures intended to help people understand the new technologies, as well as to motivate younger generations of school kids to pursue careers in STEM, is my most rewarding experience.
The keys to becoming a successful woman in a STEM career are to never give up, stay positive and resilient, and help others without expecting anything in return.