How the STEM fields most know for Woman in STEM outreach are some of the most unbalanced.
Why is Aerospace and Aviation two of the STEM industries with some of the baggiest gaps and what can we do to change that…
Aerospace and Aviation are known for being some of the first STEM fields to publicly encourage young woman to pursue careers in those fields. Funny enough, they are now one of the lower ratios in all the STEM fields. Here is why…
The early access to these careers is largely in thanks to NASA during the moon rush in the 60’s and the military needing more pilots during WWII. Following this there were some of the first Woman in STEM originations created to support those women leading the industry.
Ninety-Nines was founded in 1929 supporting female pilots and NASA Glen had internal groups to help support woman on their team in 1941. Just because these originations have been in existence for this long does not mean the world was receptive.
Woman were brought into these jobs out of necessity and often these women were not even recognized to be vital members of their teams.
But the companies were not receptive as they only hired them out of NEED. Were as in other industries who hired woman later, hired with a bit more desire (albeit it small). These industries have proven to modernize and adopt to their female colleagues much faster.
Companies end up being more stagnate and closed off than other opportunities. Also with being the “first” to support woman in STEM, some times a “we have done enough already” mindset does exist.
Studies show that there is a direct correlation to woman going for an engineering degree and confidence. Encouraging young woman and girls and giving them a safe learning environment has a direct impact on them choosing a STEM field to study. Studies also show that even more influencing is that most woman don’t choose Aerospace or Aviation due to feeling secluded and alone with now support in these classes or jobs.
With aerospace engineering being one of the lowest in male to female ratio in engineering practices directly tells us that we are in fact NOT doing enough.
So what can you an I do?
– Support Woman In STEM originations!
– Work in aerospace or aviation and have a female collogue? Listen to them, give them a platform to speak.
– Start a support group for the woman in your company.
– Be aware! Educate yourself on the impacts of the stress of being isolated.
Simply put, being a decent human can go a long way.
Knowing that others might be silently fighting a unseen equality battle in your workplace. Sit down and have a conversation about what you can do to help. Ask fellow female colleagues about their story. I GARENTEE you they have stories about the struggles they have faces in their journey. You will walk away both amazing and impressed by the perseverance and strength that these individuals have.
We have a long way to go when it comes to closing the gap but every step is a powerful one and impacts generations of young woman in front of all of us.