Barriers & Challenges to Advancement
The stigma for women to pursue STEM careers starts at an early age. Stereotypes about the difficulty of certain subjects and subtle cultural and societal cues about “masculine” and “feminine” subject matter discourage girls from pursuing these studies. Also, technology toys and video games tend to be designed and marketed for boys rather than girls. According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, high school girls associate computer science with “male geeks,” and tend to avoid science and technology clubs and activities. In higher education and STEM careers, women often report feeling isolated, marginalized and hampered by a lack of female mentors and role models. More effort is needed to encourage women to pursue advanced studies and careers in STEM through networking, hiring more women into positions of seniority and instituting parent-friendly advanced degree programs and research projects.