New Research on Gender Inequality in STEM Careers Suggests No Easy Answer
Lately, there's been a huge push to encourage women of all ages to take an interest in STEM subjects thanks to a huge gender inequality in STEM careers. The thought behind the idea is the more women enter such careers, the more will follow. An article I found on Twitter suggests otherwise. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.
Educators are actively encouraging their female students to take an interest in STEM subjects. There are far more males in STEM careers than females. Regardless of debates about gender income gaps or other gender issues that might involve this issue, it seems like common sense to encourage people of all shapes and sizes to pursue all kinds of jobs, including women and STEM related jobs. However, it's not going to be easy according to an article posted by the World Economic Forum on their Twitter account.
One idea behind pushing more girls and women into STEM jobs is that the more it becomes normal, the more will continue to choose STEM subject careers. However, recent studies show that there is no significant increase in girls who want to pursue most STEM careers, especially when math is involved, when their mothers are in STEM-related fields. It also claimed that when comparing math anxiety in male and female students across various countries, that the difference between the two genders on average was larger in supposed civilized and more gender-equal societies (with females having higher anxiety than males). They also discovered that, despite this movement, parents, especially in these so-called more advanced countries, place a higher emphasis on math skills in their male children than their female ones.
So how do we end gender inequality in STEM careers? Why do you think there is such a push for more females in STEM careers? Is it because current culture holds them in high regard or is there a deeper reasoning behind it? Is the recent trend of valuing emotional intelligence going to bring higher prestige to more female-dominated career areas such as social workers and we'll start having to encourage male students to take interest in them? Please share your thoughts below.
Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.