Many different studies have proven again and again that women’s participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, are much lower than men’s. For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, has shown that less than 25% of STEM related jobs in the U.S. are attributed to women. Furthermore, there is a wage-gap of 14% between men and women working in STEM fields; for every dollar that a man earns, a woman earns 86 cents. Find out more about these statistics here.
In 1945, an organization called the United Nations (UN) was founded. The main goals of the United Nations are to “maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, promote sustainable development, and uphold international law”. In order to help deliver its messages across the world, the United Nations has established a list of annual International Days, a list which continues to grow. In particular, this Saturday, we will be recognizing one of these days: February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The entire world, not just women, will benefit from gender equality. Holding back half of the world’s population is holding back the entire population. To help tackle this issue, on December 22, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This is a day dedicated to promoting access for women and girls to education, training, and research in science, technology, engineering, and math. It is a day to talk about these issues, discuss initiatives to help put a stop to these problems, and take action to resolve them.
This Saturday, February 11th, on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I encourage you to think about how gender inequality in STEM impacts you and the people you know. Even if you don’t see a huge problem in your immediate community, look at the smaller problems. This is how change happens! Step-by-step, we can reach a better future for gender equality in STEM.