Busting through the glass ceiling, women continue to shine in male-dominated STEM fields.
By Anna Lassmann, Illustrations By Jessica Wetterer
Far from equality within the science, technology, engineering and math fields, women hold only 26 percent of these positions in the U.S., whereas men account for 74 percent of STEM workers. According to Million Women Mentors, an organization that works to advance women in STEM careers through mentoring, out of every 100 women who receive a bachelor’s degree, 12 graduate with a STEM degree but only three of these women continue to work in a STEM field 10 years after graduation.
Inspired by the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, the Hidden Figures of Austin project aspires to promote achievements by local black women in STEM. The initiative is a campaign of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 400 businesses, organizations and individuals working to “inspire, develop and promote black economic success in the Greater Austin area.”
A software engineer by trade and an advisory board member with the nonprofit Women Who Code, Isis Anchalee originated the #ilooklikeanengineer social-media campaign in response to internet doubters who claimed a tech-company recruitment ad featuring her must be bogus because she was “too attractive” to be a “real engineer.” This prompted women engineers everywhere to post their personal stories with the hashtag. Since its inception in 2015, the campaign has continued to gain much-deserved attention, and Anchalee now has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter.
That vexing wage gap we’re all so familiar with continues to plague female workers across a variety of industries, equating to about 82 cents for women for every dollar men earn, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. But this gap is much narrower between men and women employed in STEM fields, with women in STEM earning 92 cents for every dollar earned by men. While this still represents a disparity, it shows positive change may be on the horizon and offers yet another compelling reason more women should pursue STEM careers.
$14.99 to $29.99
Mattel, the company that produces the childhood classic Barbie, is partnering with National Geographic to release a new line of Barbie dolls specifically focused on occupations with an underrepresentation of women. Available this fall, these dolls, which will range in price from $14.99 to $29.99, will hold professions such as wildlife conservationist, astrophysicist and entomologist.