While women make up 47 percent of the US work force, they represent only 26 percent of people who work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math). Further, only 12 percent of female college students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in science, and just 3 percent will continue to work in a STEM field 10 years after graduation.
Why does this matter? STEM careers tend to be significantly more lucrative than non-STEM jobs, with women in science 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 work climate more friendly to women, and still others to build strong networks on which women can rely.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on Sunday, we want to highlight organizations doing work to advance gender equality in STEM studies and careers.
See what these 7 organizations are doing to help women join and stick to STEM careers.
1. National Girls Collaborative Project
The main mission of NCGP is to make sure that all girls have access to resources which 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 since 2002 31 local collaboratives have been established, serving 39 states.
See details: NGCP
2. National Math and Science Initiative
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 seeks to improve STEM involvement among all under-representedstudents, they recognize the importance of changing the way STEM is taught so that it appeals more to girls.
See details: NMS
3. Women in Engineering Proactive Network
WEPAN “works to transform culture in engineering education to attract, retain, and graduate women.” 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. The main mission of the network is to make the atmosphere of engineering–in college and beyond–more amenable to women.
4. Million Women Mentors
As its name suggests, Million Women Mentors aims 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.
To date, MWM has received pledges from over 230,000 supporters who promise to serve as mentors.
See deailts: MWM
5. American Association of University Women
Research is at the heart of the 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 for girls intended to pique interest and expand girls’ knowledge and ability. AAUW is also one of the largest sources of graduate funding for women, and works for positive policy chance at Capitol Hill.
See details: AAUW
Scientista strengthens the community of women scientists by fostering campus-level student organizations. Each campus which participates runs its own chapter and maintains a blog. Members of the various chapters convene at a president’s circle, and the national organization provides funding, access to job postings, and visible role models.
See details: Scientista
7. Association for Women in Science
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 level 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.
See details: AWIS