Women make up 52% of the college-educated US workforce. And while, for the first time in 2022, more women than men have been accepted into STEM programs (55%), women currently only represent 29% of those who work in STEM today. And 50% of women will drop out of the field within their first 12 years.
Women in STEM: Why does this matter?
STEM careers tend to be significantly more lucrative than non-STEM jobs, with women in STEM earning 33 percent more than women in all other fields. Closing the gender gap in science will help to close gender gaps in income.
Organizations promoting women in STEM focus on different aspects of the development of women as scientists. Some aim to foster interest in science among young girls, others to make the work climate more friendly to women, and still others to build strong networks on which women can rely.
So, even though women are starting to make gains in STEM, we want to highlight organizations doing work to advance gender equality in STEM studies and careers. We chose these seven organizations to highlight.
The main mission of NCGP is to make sure that all girls have access to resources that enhance STEM education and interest. This goal is achieved by increasing the quantity and quality of resources and by developing and leveraging a network of educators.
Organizations are selected to host local collaboratives, and, in the past 20 years, 42,500 have been connected. And they’ve helped 20,200,000 girls! They’re also aiming to increase that collaboration number by 25% by 2027.
NMS seeks to improve the way STEM subjects are taught by increasing the number of high school science and math teachers with degrees in the subjects they’ll teach. Hand-in-hand with this mission, NMS seeks to foster interest in math and science at an early age so students are more engaged with science coursework.
While NMS plans to improve STEM involvement among all under-represented students, they also recognize the importance of changing the way STEM is taught so that it appeals more to girls.
WEPAN “connects people, research, and practice to increase participation, retention, and success of women and other underrepresented groups in engineering from college to executive leadership.”
To this end, WEPAN supports a network of female engineering students at over 150 campuses across the country, reaching 60 percent of the female engineering student population. They have several initiatives geared towards making the field more accessible to women. Meanwhile, they also aim to make the atmosphere of engineering – in college and beyond – more amenable to women.
As its name suggests, Million Women Mentors aim to find one million women (and men) in science to mentor girls through high school, college, and into career life to prevent women from leaving STEM fields. They hope to strengthen mentor relationships by capturing and analyzing data to see what is most effective.
MWM is currently active in about 40 states and is also aiming to shift the narrative about women in STEM fields by partnering with corporations, working with nonprofit organizations, and actively recruiting volunteers to help with their mission.
Research is at the heart of AAUW’s mission to integrate women into STEM. The organization conducts field research to elucidate the barriers which present themselves to girls and women at every level of involvement so that schools and corporations can make changes to improve inclusiveness.
The AAUW also promotes STEM programs intended to pique interest and expand girls’ knowledge and ability. As one of the largest sources of graduate funding for women, AAUW works for positive policy change at Capitol Hill.
Scientista strengthens the community of women scientists by fostering campus-level student organizations. Each campus that participates runs its chapter and maintains a blog. Members of the various chapters convene at a president’s circle. The national organization provides funding, access to job postings, and visible role models. Their website contains details on how to join a chapter. Or, if there are none available in your area or on your campus, how to start your own!
AWIS aims to help women reach their full potential in science. They work toward this goal by advocating positive systems change and increasing awareness of the barriers that prevent women from thriving in STEM. AWIS advocates for policy change at the local and national levels to ensure fair pay and work climate.
Additional measures by AWIS include leadership development and research to identify and eliminate roadblocks for women in STEM.
These are only seven of the many fantastic organizations that are helping to promote STEM for girls and women. Countless groups at local, state, national, and international levels are working to achieve these goals. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career or education in STEM, we highly encourage you to get involved or in touch with one of these fantastic organizations.
If you’re interested in a STEM-related career, get started with our Career Search tool! You can discover what each job entails. Plus, you’ll also get a detailed list of some of the best colleges for your goals!