March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day established to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.” This year’s theme is #PledgeForParity, which aims to highlight the World Economic Forum’s prediction that global gender parity will not be reached until 2133 due to a plethora of factors that have slowed progress toward closing the gender gap.
One area in which progress has slowed over the last 30 years is the gender gap in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). To help create more awareness of how substantive this gap really is, I dug through a pile of research, including the American Association of University Women’s report Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing. I also sat down with several women in STEM fields to talk about their experiences.
What I learned is that children develop gender biases as early as age 3 (yikes!), and that without early intervention, these biases will continue to contribute to the gender gap in STEM fields. To learn more about my findings, including what factors contribute to the gap and how we can make a positive impact to help close the gap, read my article The Truth About Why Little Girls Need STEM Toys.