In 2014-15, our general membership selected Girls + STEM as one of two community based issues. Girls + STEM is an important focus because
- Women make up half the workforce but less than 25% of STEM jobs
- 66% of 4th grade girls reported they like Science & Math BUT by college, only 18% of Engineering majors are female
- There are currently more jobs in STEM fields than in any other industry
- STEM careers will have the most job openings over the next 10-20 years
- Women who work in STEM related fields are currently earning 33% more than their female counterparts
Girls experience many barriers that keep them from pursuing STEM careers, including:
- Stereotypes – girls shouldn’t “get dirty” and need to “act like a lady”
- Lack of exposure to STEM fields & hands-on STEM learning experiences
- Absence of female role models in STEM fields
- Females fear how they will be treated in a male-dominated fields
- The belief that women in STEM careers cannot balance work demands with personal and family life
The Girls and STEM Committee was formed for the 2015-16 League year. The Committee is meeting at least monthly to review and discuss research and determine a path forward. Committee members are establishing relationships with local organizations involved in STEM activities to help determine a plan to support the Lancaster County community.
During the fall of 2015, our New Member Class completed a “Local STEM Heroes” project. The Class planned an afternoon filled with STEM-related activities at the Lancaster Science Factory featuring local meteorologist, Christine Ferreira.