5 Reasons To Let Your Children Experience and Learn From Failure
December 4, 2014
The Pipeline Effect: Why Increasing the Volume of Female STEM Graduates Matters
January 9, 2015
In 2002, a little less than 21% of all engineering graduates were female. In 2011, that figure actually dropped to a little more than 18%. (asee.org) With more women going to college now than ever - more than half of all college attendees are females, shouldn't that percentage of engineering graduates go up and not down?
Well, I am pretty good at math- so yes, that number should technically go up, but here's the main reason why it has not and will not until something is done way before our young ladies hit high school.
What the leaky pipeline needs is an increase of volume of females interested in engineering, computer science, and the allied healths well before they even have to decide on a major in college.
Why does this matter? Well, there is of course the argument of parity and equality but that is something that I will leave for the women's liberation movements of yesteryear. Of course, more females in engineering is a good thing from that standpoint, but there are two far more staggering and compelling reasons who increasing the volume of female STEM graduates matter.
1. ECONOMICS - Yes, at the end of the day, women make 78 cents to every dollar a man earns. (iwpr.org) Ever wonder why? The highest paying jobs are in technology and the sciences. A-ha. And these professions are traditionally represented by women in the 20-30% range. Some of the main reasons we earn less traditionally are because of life choices and work interruption, but much of it also has to do with career choices. More females in the technology sector also translates to more ultimate gender pay parity and more opportunities for women to break into upper management and entrepreneurial roles. In a recent survey, there were only 3 female CTO (chief technology officers)for every 100 male CTOs. That staggering delta speaks more to the need to increase opportunities for females to explore STEM careers early on. An increase in the volume of females that are interested in STEM and are nurtured through elementary, middle and high school ultimately affects outcomes and has the possibility of changing this paradigm dramatically.
2. DIVERSITY of IDEAS - Women are traditionally fantastic at multi-tasking or exploring the paths and relationships between things. In laymen terms, they work well with linear or multilinear processes where you change one thing to see how it affects another. In further laymen's terms, these concepts are used in chemistry, physics, linear algebra, statistics, and other applied sciences. When more females graduate and enter the STEM work force, you are unleashing a whole new dimension of thought and ability to explore relationships. Perhaps a cure for Alzheimer's is lying in the brain of one of these of women? Perhaps she will be able to invent new mathematical models to solve our everyday problems? Perhaps she will be the next CTO of Google?
Increasing the pipeline matters for so many reasons but more importantly, things must change in how we approach this issue with compassion and conscious actions. Consider mentoring a young girl and giving her the opportunity to explore. You will perhaps be helping to rewrite history if you do.