One area in desperate need of examination is the way we teach mathematics. Many Americans suffer from misconceptions about math. They think people are either born with a “math brain” or not -- an idea that has been disproven -- and that mathematics is all numbers, procedures and speedy thinking.
Policy makers and educators around the world are trying to encourage more students -- especially female students -- to pursue degrees in STEM fields. One strategy for doing so is called “curriculum intensification.” But new research suggests the strategy fails to achieve the desired results.
For the third year in a row, Washington, D.C., came out on top -- proving to have one of the smallest gender pay gaps in the country. The capitol city also has a relatively large percentage of female employees in tech, at about 41%. Though the study didn't delve into the reasons that D.C.
The campaign, unveiled March 7 to coincide with International Women's Day, focuses on ambitions of girls in science, technology, engineering and math fields. One of the girls featured in the campaign ad says, "There's always going to be someone that says, like, 'No, you can't do it.' I think I can!"
Despite the promise of STEM jobs and the advances women have made in education and in the field, the U.S. is far from achieving gender parity in STEM. Two new surveys shed light on the problem. A Microsoft survey asked young women in Europe between the ages of 11 and 30 about their views regarding STEM - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Schools and celebrated nonprofits like Girls Who Code are making great strides in encouraging female students to embark on careers in STEM -- science, technology, engineering, and math -- related fields. But that pathway narrows considerably by the time young women reach college and then actually choose their careers.
“The lack of women in technology roles really starts in education,” said Crystal Valentine, vice president of technology strategy at MapR Technologies. “It starts at the time when students are starting to think about their careers, primarily at the college level when they start to declare majors.”
High school engineering classrooms look a lot different than they did a few decades ago, and it’s not just because of computers. Those classes now have girls. Lots of girls. Thanks to long-standing efforts by teachers, administrators and nonprofits, girls now make up about half the enrollment in high-school science and math classes.
Yvonne Brill invented satellite propulsion. Sarah Mather developed the underwater telescope. Ada Lovelace created the first computer algorithm. They were all women inventors, two words that many people don’t put together in a sentence very often. On March 8, International Women’s Day, it’s not only right to remember these and other female heroes, it’s just as important to encourage young women to know they can and should be among the next generation of inventors.
In a 2016 study, we looked at the LinkedIn profiles of millions of women skilled in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math to get a better understanding of their career paths and movement in the field. The results highlighted a challenge that many companies face: women in STEM roles are particularly hard to find and even tougher to keep.