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Leveling the Playing Field: Making STEM Careers Accessible to All Women

By Universum, 2023-03-08

International Women’s Day – March 8th, 2023. In honour of this important and noteworthy day, Universum is pleased to announce that we have released our 3rd edition of the Women in STEM eBook. In the below article, we'll delve into some of the key findings of our research, and provide takeaways for Employers to utulize in their endeavour to attract, recruit, and retain women in STEM, as well as why these key trends and findings are important in shaping the future for Women in STEM.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) play a crucial role in fostering innovation and accelerating economic growth. It is one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand industries globally. However, despite the growing need for STEM experts, there is still a low representation of women in these fields. Recent data also shows that they tend to earn less than their male counterparts, and aren’t given as much support or influence to pursue careers in these fields. 

What were the findings?  

The Gender Pay Gap in STEM 

One of the most pressing issues for women in STEM is the persistent gender pay gap. According to a recent study by the National Girls Collaborative Project, women in STEM fields earn just 85 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. This inequality affects women’s careers as a whole, not only entry-level jobs, with a sizable discrepancy even among high-level executives. The quality of life, prospects for job progress, and financial security for women may all be significantly impacted by this wage disparity. 

Preferred Industries and Education Differences 

The small number of women pursuing professions in certain STEM fields is another problem for women in STEM. Women are overrepresented in domains like biology and medical science, whereas they are underrepresented in disciplines like engineering and computer science. Differences in education and exposure to STEM disciplines during childhood and adolescence are frequently cited as the cause of this inequality. It is less probable that girls will have access to excellent STEM education and resources, and it is also less likely that they will be inspired to pursue STEM careers. The number of women pursuing STEM occupations and, ultimately, the diversity of ideas and approaches in the sector, may be constrained by this lack of exposure and engagement. 

Gender Equality in STEM 

The lack of female representation in STEM fields and the ongoing pay discrepancy underline the need for gender equality in the workplace. It takes a diversified strategy that addresses the underlying reasons behind the disadvantages women experience to achieve gender equality in STEM. This entails expanding access to top-notch STEM education and resources, encouraging gender diversity and inclusion at work, and offering equitable pay and professional growth possibilities.   

Addressing the income gap through laws and initiatives that support fair pay and equitable opportunity for women is one strategy to advance gender equality in STEM. To identify and address pay inequities, this includes putting equal pay rules into place and routinely conducting pay equity evaluations. Employers can also offer tools and assistance, such as professional development opportunities and mentorship programmes, to women looking to further their careers in STEM disciplines.  

Another key strategy for promoting gender equality in STEM is to increase access to STEM education and resources for girls and young women. This can include programs that provide hands-on learning opportunities and exposure to STEM careers, as well as initiatives that support girls and young women in pursuing STEM degrees and careers. In addition, it is important to promote gender diversity and inclusion in STEM classrooms and workplaces, including through initiatives that encourage girls and women to pursue STEM careers and provide them with the support they need to succeed.  

Women play a critical role in driving innovation and economic growth in the STEM industry. However, despite the increasing demand for STEM professionals, the representation of women in the industry remains low, with significant disparities in pay, education, and preferred industries. Addressing these disparities is critical for achieving gender equality in STEM and for ensuring that the industry is representative of the diverse perspectives and approaches that drive innovation and progress. By promoting access to high-quality STEM education and resources, promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and addressing the pay gap, we can work towards a future where women in STEM are valued, supported, and empowered to succeed.   

Topics covered in our latest eBook include the following:  

  • Which industries do women seek out? 

  • What do women in STEM seek in future employers? 

  • Gender pay gap in STEM – does it still exist? 

  • Disparities in STEM education: Dissecting the data 

  • And much more! 

Download our latest Women in STEM eBook

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