In this article, we will highlight STEM programs for women and girls in Indiana, but first, it’s important to give a little background on the subject.
The disproportionate number of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers is a result of sexist systems that hold women and girls back. According to the American Association of University Women, “Girls and women are systematically tracked away from science and math throughout their education, limiting their access, preparation and opportunities to go into these fields as adults.” Because of biased societal standards and expectations, women and girls are pushed into what are seen as “feminine careers” and the dearth of women in STEM is blamed on women and girls having weaker technical and analytical skills.
Data Tells a Story of Inequity
Data recorded by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission tells a story of disparity in STEM careers all over the United States, where women make up half of the population.
Women accounted for just 29.3 percent of federal STEM workers, with math occupations having the fewest number of women. In addition, there are massive gender gaps in the fastest-growing and highest-paying STEM jobs.
Not only is there a critical lack of women in STEM careers, but there is also a need for more diversity. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found a concerning lack of women of color in STEM careers. “Most of the women working in STEM in the federal sector were White (66.02 percent). By comparison, 14.58 percent were African American or Black, 9.76 percent Asian, 6.42 percent Hispanic or Latina, 0.97 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.28 percent Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. In addition, 1.98 percent indicated they were more than one race.”
It Takes a Community to Bring Change
With data like this, it is clear to see the inequity in STEM occupations. Several social biases, including racism and sexism, prevent girls from exploring love and acumen in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, resulting in fewer women succeeding in critical, well-paying STEM fields. Solutions to this inequity are multi-faceted: Girls need to be encouraged to pursue interest in STEM; women need more opportunities and protection from the harassment and marginalization that can occur in male-dominated careers; and more.
Several organizations are working to provide STEM programs for women and girls in Central Indiana. Without this programming, the equity gap would be even wider in our communities. Along with these organizations, Universities like Indiana University, IUPUI and Indiana State University are also providing affinity programs and clubs for women students.
STEM programs for Women and Girls in Indiana
If you or someone you know is interested in resources for women and girls in STEM, check out the resources below.
Women in STEM Living and Learning Center
While these organizations and programs are providing excellent opportunities, the truth is without true equity, the gender gap in STEM cannot be bridged. The gender gap is a deep societal problem. Change will take focused action across several spheres.
Support Women’s Fund
Without the support of our community, STEM programs for women and girls in Indiana will continue to be underfunded and underrepresented. At Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, we are dedicated to mobilizing people, ideas and investments, so every woman and girl in our community has an equitable opportunity to reach her full potential – no matter her place, race or identity. You can make an impact with your support; we invest in organizations that help women in our focus areas, caregiving, intimate violence, economic empowerment and girls’ programs. Learn more about Women’s Fund.
Author: Rebekah Corwin
Marketing and Communications Officer for Women’s Fund of Central Indiana