While girls make up half of the general population, female representation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is well below par – with estimates of females in STEM at approximately 14% of the workforce1. STEM jobs are extremely well-paid, outperforming non-STEM jobs by 12-30% across all educational requirements2. STEM experts are in high demand, with an estimated 2.4 million STEM jobs going unfilled today. To meet the challenges of the future, and access to future studies and careers in lucrative fields, it is critical to give girls the opportunity to explore STEM.
In addition to the impact that a STEM job could have on a girl’s future financial security and career, technological industries are missing out on a valuable pool of employees, improving innovation in industries where advancement is critical to success.
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There are many explanations for how the gender gap in STEM came to be: some possible causes may be a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, discrimination and harassment. In a recent study, 39% of women surveyed said that they had decided not to seek employment in STEM because they had not been encouraged to pursue STEM at an early age3.
Making a systemic change to the cultural, societal, or educational systems that discourage girls from choosing STEM is a daunting, time and resource-intensive prospect. Recognizing that a difference may be made more rapidly by girls with encouragement and opportunities in STEM, several non-profit organizations have made it their mission to provide those to girls at an early age.
STEM Education Organizations in NYC
Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization with a mission to close the gender gap in technology. Girls Who Code offers computer science education in free after-school clubs, or summer camps and immersion programs, and to date has reached 90,000 girls in all 50 states. The group is on track to close the gender gap in computer science by 2027.
The Institute of Play is a non-profit organization dedicated to the use of gaming and game design as an educational tool to promote student learning. These tools include incorporating principles of play, collaboration, challenge, and design thinking into the learning environment to improve results. To date, the Institute of Play has reached 1500 teachers at over 50 educational institutions in 30 countries.
The Institute’s STEM Educators Academy provides workshops, site training, and visits, to use the principles of play to improve STEM education in schools.
The New York STEAM Girls Collaborative brings together organizations that are committed to providing opportunities for girls in STEM, ensuring that these organizations are connected to improve access to shared resources and best practices. Connecting the community of STEM providers allows different organizations to communicate and combine efforts so that they can all achieve their goals.
Fostering an interest in STEM in girls from a young age could be the defining factor in closing the gender gap in STEM. For instance, 77% of girls who participated in the Girl Scouts Girls Steam Ahead program were interested in learning about careers in math, science and the arts; and 91% of participants agreed that the program led to increased enjoyment of learning about and using technology. The Girl Scouts FIRST Robotics program increased the interest in science or engineering in 48% of participants, and interest in designing things in 52% of participants4.
If you are interested in supporting organizations that offer STEM opportunities to girls in NYC, connect with our partners.
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