Women continue to be under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in a number of ways during their education and in their careers.
There are a range of possible reasons that help to explain why women are under-represented, including cultural stereotypes, lack of encouragement and misconceptions around what STEM careers entail. As STEM skills are increasingly seen to be an important part of the innovation movement, and of strategic importance to continued economic growth, much of the focus on gender difference in STEM employment has centred on discovering why this gap exists and strategies that aim to reduce its impact.
Schools looking to implement a STEM program within their educational framework are, however, challenged with the question of how they will implement STEM strategies within their curricula, and how they implement a program that will also appeal to young women in particular. This is no easy task and the integration of an inclusive STEM program that is effective and has measurable outcomes is a big undertaking within any school setting.
Embedding the right strategies at the right time
Science teachers play a crucial role in the interest and achievement of girls in STEM disciplines, and the likelihood that they will go on to follow a career path in this area. Whilst there is no ‘magic bullet’ that will in and by itself increase participation by girls, there are a number of strategies that schools can employ that will help raise the number of girls choosing a STEM subject and subsequently a career path in a STEM-related field. As schools look to implement STEM within their educational framework, it is important to consider when and at what level these strategies are embedded, and how they will link together as a student moves from primary through to the middle and senior school levels.
The Women in STEM conference takes place in Melbourne this September, and will explore strategies for transforming the working landscape for women in this sector. Book by July 8th to save $400 on ticket prices.