STEM Stereotypes: Harmless or impeding innovation?

I think it’s time that we all talk about the elephant in the room, that is; the sheer dominance of males in STEM related subjects. From the obvious gender gap prevalent in all disciplines of engineering to the involvement of women in coding, the ratio is off. Girls at a young age will continue to fuel this unconscious bias unless they are encouraged to cultivate their interest in STEM at a young age.

Why does this matter you ask? Science has proven woman are inherently different in their thinking compared to men. If so, we are missing out on almost half the world’s population of thinking that can complement the male centric niches that currently exist. When a different perspective is added into the mix you are ultimately extending the frontiers of innovation.

There is no doubt that we are in the midst of ever growing innovation. We have come significantly far in terms of scientific and technological advancement as a species in the past century than we have in the thousands of years prior to this. We are placing a bottleneck in the process of this advancement if we limit STEM to only male populations.

The STEM talks given in the final years of high school to students are vain attempts. Girls have long before decided the paths that they see themselves pursuing.

No, instead, it begins from our homes and from the early ages of primary school. Girls need to be exposed to STEM and be given assurance that they are more than capable to excel in their related passions as long as they have the will and eagerness to learn. This begins with eliminating the gender stereotypes that emerge at a young age. Girls should be empowered to pick up a laptop and code away projects. Women need to be assured that there is nothing masculinely exclusive about tinkering with arduino projects. It is there for the taking.
The success of this will be testified when we start to see the notion that women interested in cars is the equivalent of women interested in tech, attractive and captivating. We will have made it when we see the female equivalent of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk in the respective industries of STEM.