Empowering Women in STEM

It’s well known that STEM industries (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) area male dominated sector. The number of women in this industry is largely uneven in comparison to men — figures show that in 2017, only 23 per cent of the workforce were women. Yes, this is low, and it’s 105,470 higher than statistics in 2016.

However, maybe opinions about women in STEM are changing. This year has seen some of the biggest names and influential figures in the industry being women, such as Kate Bouman, the woman who engineered the first image of a black hole. In this article, we track how more women have entered STEM than any other field in the past four decades.

Research done by LinkedIn recorded that STEM saw more women enter the sector over the last 40 years than all others. Philanthropist and former general manager at Microsoft, Melinda Gates, said: “Innovation happens when we approach urgent challenges from every different point of view. Bringing women and underrepresented minorities into the field guarantees that we see the full range of solutions to the real problems that people face in the world”.

Fitness technology firm, Fitbit, came under criticism in 2018 for their period tracker having a 10-day cycle. If more women were involved in the creation, they would’ve realised this was three days too long. In the States, the tech industry is one of the highest paying fields — yet women are still paid less than their male counterparts.

The Effects of Bias

As annoying as they can be, we all have biases. They’ve become a natural part of the way we think, especially when we’ve been raised with the idea that men are better suited for certain jobs than women. Charles Darwin described women as intellectual inferiors and universities rejected women up until the 20th century.

Laura Segal, senior vice president for the American Association of University Women, said: “Teachers and parents provide explicit and implicit messages starting in early childhood that boys and men are ‘better’ at math, and the gaps in the professions reinforce the opportunities, culture and lack of role models that perpetuate male dominance”.

Steps have been taken to fix this gender disparity, with an increase in school and university initiatives to encourage women in STEM. Previously, female students reported avoiding STEM courses because of a lack of female role models to identify with. If girls were taught about female role models like Marie Curie, for example, who discovered the effects of radiation, perhaps they’d be more inclined to pursue a career in the field.

To tackle this pressing issue, more women have been included in the curriculum by exam boards. Rosalind Franklin, a woman central to the understanding of DNA, has been taught across the nation. This has been linked to this year’s A-level results, which saw female students studying STEM courses (50.3%) outnumber male students (49.7%).

Helpful Funding

Actions by philanthropists have been beneficial towards helping encourage women in STEM. $25 million has been funded to boost girls’ interest by changing the narrative that they’re masculine careers. It’s expected to inspire other girls to follow other successful women. Lyda Hill Philanthropies have introduced 125 female ambassadors to represent the different STEM-related careers. Part of the donation will be used to fund grants for women to study STEM courses.

There have been reports of women taking leave from working environments dominated by men due to a toxic masculine culture. They noted that they had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and to earn respect.

Women in STEM Apprenticeships

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers put together a report which concluded that there is a serious shortage of skilled STEM workers in the UK, which is costing around £1.5billion a year. Apprenticeships have an equal gender balance, yet only nine per cent of STEM apprentices are women.

The government is trying to fix this disparity by helping women become more informed about apprenticeships to help them access STEM-related careers.

Lookers, who offer a range of motability cars, launched a female apprenticeship scheme back in 2018. The aim is to double the amount of their female apprenticeships and provide a positive environment to encourage and attract women to STEM.

There is definitely a lot more that can be done to help encourage women in STEM, however it’s positive to hear such contributions already.


What Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory Would Cost Today

Guest post by The Advanced Technology Services Marketing Dept.

Few fictional businesses are as iconic and instantly recognizable as Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Although the eccentric chocolatier can get away with running his operation on “pure imagination” in Roald Dahl’s book and the movies based on it, real-life ledgers have to be balanced with cold, hard cash.

Having a flying glass elevator in your facility might be a hit with employees and visitors, but how much would that cost the company? Not surprisingly, the answer is mind-blowing. Based on the current cost of an all-glass elevator — not to mention the rocket you’d need to get it airborne — you would need to spend an estimated $109 million on that extravagance alone. That’s not to mention footing the bill for the other unusual amenities in Willy Wonka’s factory, such as the 150,000-gallon chocolate river or the edible fruit wallpaper. There are also the more ho-hum expenses, like the factory’s energy bill, and employee wages and benefits. Oompa-Loompas have to eat, too.

Preparing for a STEM career means thinking about all of the practicalities that come with running a business, even one staffed by mythical orange people with green hair. The accompanying infographic breaks down exactly what the operating costs of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory might be if it existed in real life. Spoiler alert: They’re as over-the-top as the factory itself.

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Author bio: The Advanced Technology Services Marketing Department is an innovative, collaborative, results-driven team focused on driving the business forward. The department consists of four pillars: Business Intelligence, Product Management, Marketing Communications and Demand Generation.  All team members work cross-functionally to increase brand awareness and drive demand for continuous bottom-line growth in the industrial maintenance and MRO asset management sectors.

If You Love Working with Your Hands, These 5 STEM Jobs are for You!

Wildlife Conservationist

What they do
Wildlife Conservationists preserve, protect and maintain plant and animal habitats. They work at places such as national forests, and work to keep the land free of poachers, arrest those breaking any game laws, ensure that people are abiding by game rules, test game kills for disease and prevent any kind of wildlife crime.

How they use their hands
Conservationists not only handle game kills to collect samples to be tested for disease, but regularly scope the area they’re required to watch over. They’re work is almost entirely outside, and play an essential role in many government and research institutions.

2. MRI Technician

What they do
MRI Technicians use MRI machines to test people and check them for various diseases, tumors and abnormal activity within their bodies. Their machines use magnetic resonance imaging (that’s where the MRI comes from) to make high-def 3D images of the tissue and organs of the human body.

How they use their hands

MRI Technicians manually operate MRI machines to scan people and carry out important tests. Doctors use the results of these MRI scans to diagnose illnesses and disorders such as cysts, bone deformities and cancer.

3. Obstetrician

What they do
Obstetricians provide pregnant women with prenatal care and assist in childbirth and even after childbirth. Some of their responsibilities consist of ordering tests such as ultrasounds, examining patients, and ordering medications and treatments.

How they use their hands
Because obs often help with childbirth, they’re using their hands to deliver the baby and care for it after it’s been born. They also carry out tests and examinations, and help women with any concerns they may have about their pregnancy.

Obstetricians provide pregnant women with prenatal care

4. Construction Managers

What they do
Construction Managers handle the moving pieces of a construction job. This means they take care of the budget, supervising subordinates and the overall planning of the project. They have to communicate regularly with their team and ensure that the job is taking place

How they use their hands
Construction Managers have to visit the sites that they’re overseeing the construction of. In addition, they must look over schematics of a project and utilize their team’s skills to get the project done on time. Though they may not take part in the construction of a building, these managers certainly must have a strong presence in a construction zone.

5. Exercise Physiologist

What they do
Exercise Physiologists help people achieve a higher level of health by conducting tests, evaluating their patients and giving them individualized diet and exercise plans. These physiologists may work with athletes, patients with diseases that must be closely monitored (such as diabetes) and those who simply want to get healthier.

How they use their hands
Exercise Physiologists provide a range of services for their clients, such as conducting stress tests, training them with exercise equipment, and using other specialized machines to identify a patient’s specific needs.

Didn’t find a career that piqued your interests? Check out our full list of STEM careers here!

The Employer’s Guide to Job Shadowing

Across the nation, schools and companies are realizing that more collaboration is needed. For the first time in US history there are more available jobs than available workers. Thus, there is a pressing need for companies to build their talent pipelines, especially in critical science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

One way to connect teenage students with local employers is through job shadows. Whether you have never heard of job shadowing, or are looking to get a job shadow program started in your district, here are some of the most common questions and answers we get about the process:

Employer’s Quick & Easy Guide to Job Shadowing:

Q. What is a job shadow program?
A. A job shadow program is a program within any company or organization that lets students shadow workers for a few hours. Unlike internships, which usually last months or a year, job shadow programs are typically less than one day. Students are compensated with school credit and the ability to meet professionals – no money exchanges hands on either side. Also unlike an internship, a job shadow is strictly educational in nature; they often only observe but can do hands-on tasks if you are open to that.

Q. What does a job shadow program entail?
A. A job shadow program usually consists of having a teenage student observing an employee while they work. The employee can explain each task to the student, and maybe have her/him try for themselves. The overarching purpose of a job shadow is to give students a sense of what a career is really like. A test drive so to speak!

Q. Why should my company offer job shadowing?
A. A company has lots of reasons to offer job shadowing! Not only are you helping introduce today’s youth to the workforce, you might also find one or two standout students to keep in touch with, mentor, and perhaps even hire when they graduate. Job shadowing is also a necessary part of completing high school, so you’ll be helping local students complete a very important requirement!

Q. Will having a job shadow program disrupt the workday?
A. Not at all! Your workers should be alerted that a student will be at your company for the day, and a handful of friendly employees should be chosen to be shadowed by the student. The flow of the workday shouldn’t change too much. Again, the whole point is for a student to experience a real ‘day in the life’. Even employees who aren’t tasked with being shadowed shouldn’t be afraid to jump in and offer a few nuggets of wisdom and info!

Q. Should I provide the student with any resources?
A. While it isn’t necessary to give the student any resources (they should show up with their own notebook, pencil and lunch), it isn’t a bad idea to have a simple agreement in place. While not necessary, an agreement form can be completed by both the company representative, student, and supervising educator/guidance counselor prior to a job shadow visit to keep everyone on the same page.

Q. Are there any legalities to job shadowing I should know about?
A. Part of this depends on the field that you work in. Manual labor jobs (i.e. construction, landscaping, factory work, etc.) usually require a release of liability form, while office settings typically don’t require such measures. For the most part job shadows are treated as ‘field experiences’ – like a field trip – and students are typically covered by school insurance. In some sensitive fields such as healthcare or national defense, job shadows may not be physically possible, or they may be limited to certain days or areas.

Q. How do I start a job shadow program in my organization?
A. Clearly explain the benefits to your supervisor if needed (educating youths, improves company brand, makes it easier to find new employees), how easy they are to carry out (legal paperwork optional in most cases), and how short they last (typically a single day). Once your company is on board, the next step is to reach out to the local school district. High School Guidance Department Directors are typically the best place to start. Their information can usually be found on the school’s staff page. You can also create a free listing in our Directory to share your job shadow opportunity!

Q. Are there any job shadow programs out there?
A. At the moment, no widely-used or government-sponsored job shadow placement program exists just yet. Most schools go it on their own; local school districts might have a program in place for its students, but just for that district.

Q. How will students know that my company is interested in hosting job shadows? A. Career In STEM has developed the STEM Job Shadow Finder – the only online tool currently on the market to help students find and connect with local STEM companies. The Job Shadow Finder is an interactive, searchable database custom created for school districts by Career In STEM. We do all the hard work of reaching out to companies and curating responses to provide all the information an interested student (or their parent/educator) will need to find and complete a job shadow experience. The Job Shadow Finder also allows students and educators to list job shadow locations and post ‘inside views’ through interactive community groups, enabling students across the nation to share and learn from the job shadow experiences of their peers. >>Create a free company profile today!

ATTENTION TEACHERS! Get this FAQ as an infographic, plus helpful email and letter templates. >>CLICK HERE!

STEM Halloween Costumes!

Halloween is coming up fast! With the season of candy and costumes nearly upon us, the time has come to start preparing outfits for trick-of-treating! But what if you wanted to inject a bit of education into your kids’ Halloween ensemble? Turn costume shopping into a moment of learning? Here are five great STEM costumesContinue reading