The Future is Feminist: Women’s Contributions to STEM and the Path Ahead

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Women's Contributions to STEM
Image Source: Science

The dearth of diversity in STEM disciplines has drawn more attention in recent years. In the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—women have historically been underrepresented. But women have made important contributions to many professions, and recently, their involvement has grown. This article will examine the past and future of women’s contributions to STEM.

STEM contributions made by women

Women have long contributed significantly to the STEM fields. Their work has, however, frequently been disregarded or credited to males. Ada Lovelace, for instance, is sometimes cited as the first computer programmer in history, yet her contributions were mostly overlooked until the middle of the 20th century. Similar to this, the work of Rosalind Franklin’s male colleagues eclipsed her contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA. Women have continued to contribute significantly to STEM despite these obstacles. For instance, Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and did so twice for her contributions to both chemistry and physics. Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Katherine Johnson all contributed to the success of NASA’s first manned space flights.

Women have made more contributions to STEM fields in recent years. Today, women are more likely than ever to seek degrees in STEM professions. Women received 42% of STEM doctoral degrees and 45% of STEM bachelor’s degrees in 2019. In STEM research, women also contribute significantly. For instance, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier’s work on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology earned them the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The way forward

Although women’s involvement in STEM has grown recently, there is still a long way to go. In many STEM professions, notably in computer science and engineering, women are still underrepresented. Women also encounter several obstacles to job success in STEM fields. For instance, women in STEM professions earn less than males and are less likely to be promoted to senior roles. There are numerous actions that may be made to alleviate these issues. First and foremost, it’s critical to inspire females to seek STEM degrees and jobs. This may be accomplished through exposing students to successful women in STEM disciplines, mentorship programs, and programs that offer practical STEM experiences. The prejudices and misconceptions that women encounter in STEM professions must also be addressed. This may be accomplished by implementing rules that address gender prejudice in hiring and promotion as well as training programs that support diversity and inclusion.

Thirdly, it’s critical to foster an atmosphere that is more encouraging for women working in STEM professions. This may be accomplished by implementing flexible work-life policies, such as paid family leave and flexible work hours. It’s also critical to address the problem of sexual harassment in STEM disciplines, which deters women from entering these subjects as jobs. Lastly, it is crucial to recognize the achievements made by women in STEM professions. This may be accomplished by promoting the successes of women in STEM through media coverage as well as acknowledgment programs like prizes and scholarships.

Intersectionality and the promotion of women in STEM

Recognizing the significance of intersectionality is a key component in encouraging women to pursue STEM careers. When pursuing professions in STEM disciplines, women from a variety of backgrounds confront particular difficulties and obstacles. Women of color, for instance, frequently experience prejudice and underrepresentation in STEM areas. Additionally, women with impairments could encounter logistical and physical obstacles in their pursuit of STEM employment. It is crucial to encourage intersectionality in STEM education and jobs in order to solve these issues. This may be accomplished through projects and organizations that assist and mentor women from a variety of backgrounds.

It’s crucial to address the prejudices and obstacles that women from different backgrounds encounter in STEM professions, such as the underrepresentation of these women in leadership positions and any potential cultural prejudices. Promoting intersectionality in STEM education and jobs is crucial to addressing these issues, and programs like women tech jobs are a great source of mentoring and support for women interested in a career in technology.

Gender diversity in STEM: Benefits

In addition to being crucial for social justice, encouraging gender diversity in STEM professions also provides practical advantages for the industry. A wider variety of viewpoints, ideas, and methods to problem-solving may result from gender diversity. This could lead to more original and useful solutions to difficult problems. Additionally, gender diversity can aid in addressing the STEM talent gap. In order to access a wider range of talents and abilities, STEM professions must broaden their talent pool to include women. Increased production and field competition may result from this. Overall, encouraging gender diversity in STEM disciplines is both morally right and practical from an economic perspective. We can build a more inventive and inclusive STEM field that benefits everyone by embracing gender diversity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, women have contributed significantly to STEM areas throughout history, and their involvement has grown recently. To overcome the obstacles and problems faced by women in STEM disciplines, more has to be done. We can make sure that the future of STEM is feminized and that women continue to make significant contributions to the field by supporting intersectionality, fostering a positive environment, and embracing gender diversity.