The days when women were considered too dumb to handle math and science are long gone (unless you're Larry Summers circa 2005), but the fact is that they're still underrepresented in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workforce. In the U.S., we've largely achieved gender equality in terms of sheer numbers of workers, but, as I've mentioned before, only 26% of STEM jobs are held by women. And when it comes to engineering alone, the number is just tragic: 13 measly percentage points.
Part of the problem is how girls are still viewed in society - and how they see themselves represented in the media and pop culture. It's telling that while 66% of 4th grade girls say they like science and math, only 18% of engineering majors are women. Why the plummet in numbers?
|Finding stats like this is sadly easy|
Maybe it's because everywhere they look, girls are told they should be pretty and likable, but not so much smart. These days, there is an emphasis on "strong" women, but it's almost always portrayed as physical strength. Or having a tough-as-nails attitude. But what about brains?
If you've been following this blog for the past few weeks, you may have heard that I'm teaming up with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels to help change that. If not, here's the SparkNotes version: We're publishing an anthology of young adult short stories about tech-savvy heroines, and all revenues from sales of the book will be donated to a Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund. Because maybe if more girls saw themselves portrayed in STEM roles, more might consider that path.
|Cover of the anthology|
Check out our campaign here: http://igg.me/at/BraveNewGirls.
And if you even if you can't donate, we could still use your support! Help us spread the word. Blast it out on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and anything else you've got going on. Email people you know. We appreciate it all!
Help us change the world, will ya? :-)