1. Why do you think young women in affluent Western nations are outnumbered by young men in a ratio of 3 to 1 in pursuing STEM careers if their aptitude and brain capacity are equally adept?
It definitely starts at a young age. So many children’s toys are heavily gendered and direct young girls to cleaning, beauty, child care, and fashion. While things are definitely changing and people are more aware of the gender disparities, there needs to be more outreach and inclusion. We all have been socialized to believe in these gendered roles even though they are wrong.
2. What is the economic impact of young women choosing careers in humanities over STEM?
When women pursue a career in humanities, they are often paid less than a job in a STEM field. The earning potential for a STEM job is much higher and would lessen the wage gap and income inequalities.
3. Does the gender shift in middle school winners of last year’s prize above provide positive indicators for cultural change?
This definitely is a great start in shifting the culture surrounding girls in STEM but it is just the first step. It is amazing that more girls are being recognized for their pursuits and definitely shows how our culture is shifting towards inclusion. I think that gender in middle school is also very polarizing and it is amazing to see how girls are embracing their interests without fear of judgement.
4. How could climate change innovation be impacted by more women in STEM fields?
Women offer a new perspective and outlook on the world and I think that they would be able to create a lot of change in the environment. Lauren Ejiaga and Alexis MacAvoy are perfect examples of how resourceful and innovative young girls can be and how much they can contribute to solving the climate crisis. Their projects are so inspiring and show how when you combine innovation with compassion and concern for our world something truly great happens.
5. How can pop culture continue to exert a positive impact on career outcomes for girls?
Pop culture really does shift the narrative and perception of these issues. The more representation we see of girls in STEM the more young girls will see themselves and endless possibilities for their future.