Not that long ago, girls were actively discouraged from careers in science, technology, engineering and math. And women’s representation in STEM fields reflected this. In the 1960s, for instance, just one in every 100 engineers was a woman. The situation has improved, but today, women still make up only 27 percent of people working in science and engineering.
Science News for Students attempts to shed some light on this underrepresentation in a feature story reported by award-winning writer Stephen Ornes. In it, he delves into the many challenges that girls and women can face when pursuing an education or career in STEM. One is the misguided stereotype that boys are naturally better than girls in these subjects. That idea, though completely untrue, is deeply ingrained in society and can have a range of effects.
In another article, “Adults can sabotage a student’s path in science or math,” Sarah Zielinski, Science News for Students’ managing editor, describes how parents, teachers and other adults can turn kids away from STEM through seemingly innocent activities, such as helping children with their homework. So Science News for Students gathered some advice from women in STEM for girls who also want to pursue careers in these areas: Follow your passion, work hard, ignore the doubters and find peers who are just as into STEM as you are.
Illustrating the feature story are images and videos of women currently working in STEM fields. These women submitted their stories in response to a request by Bethany Brookshire on the Eureka! Lab blog. Brookshire expected to receive 10 or 20 responses. Instead, more than 150 women got back to her from across STEM fields and around the world. They submitted images, audio and video from 18 countries and all seven continents — even Antarctica. All of these women are being featured in a series on Eureka! Lab, where their stories can inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
Science News for Students is an award-winning, free online magazine that reports on research and new developments across scientific disciplines for inquiring minds of every age from middle school on up.