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Computer Science and Engineering Resources for Women in STEM

Computer Science and Engineering Resources for Women in STEM

Although women are well-represented in academic programs, data indicates that few women are graduating with computer science degrees and entering technology-driven fields. This lack of diversity in computer science can affect academic environments and work cultures negatively. It is vital that the gender gap be addressed in computer science and STEM overall.

Why Are There So Few Women in STEM Degree Programs and Jobs?

There are many factors that may contribute to the gender gap in computer science. A few of these include gender biases, a lack of mentorship, work-life balance issues, and other workplace issues.

Gender Biases and Stereotypes

Unfortunately, in computer science, there is a stereotype that associates successful engineers with men, often men with limited social skills. However, in today's collaborative environment, engineers from diverse backgrounds are essential, and social skills are vital.

Lack of Female Mentors

Because the gender gap has existed for many decades, there are fewer female professionals in computer science and STEM-related fields. Accordingly, young women may have limited access to female role models who can inspire them in their pursuit of a technology career.

Work-Life Balance

Balancing demanding job requirements with raising a family can be difficult. Accordingly, workplaces are increasingly being challenged to provide creative options for talented professionals in need of time off for family. Many companies offer maternity leave and work-from-home options for female employees.

Workplace Issues: Gender Discrimination, Low Job Satisfaction, and Negative Workplace Cultures

In some workplaces, women still experience discrimination and negative workplace cultures, which leads to low job satisfaction. Employment lawyers and mentors are important resources when navigating challenging workplace environments.

STEM Programs for Young Women

STEM programs can help students to meet mentors, explore their interests in STEM-related fields, and learn about important topics driving innovation. Some programs are year-long, while others are week-long summer intensives. There are many programs available for high school students as well as younger students.
  • Eureka!: Girls Incorporated provides a STEM-based program for eighth-to-12th-grade girls to explore nanoscience, forensic science, DNA research, and robotics.
  • Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research: NASA provides a yearly summer program designed to expose middle school students to engineering, mathematics, and science.
  • Conservation Science Intensive: Audubon Canyon Ranch exposes women to conservation science through week-long seminars.
  • STREAMS: Pairing SCUBA diving with a STEM curriculum, STREAMS provides an innovative learning pathway for women of color.
  • Boston Leadership Institute: The Boston Leadership Institute offers one-week and three-week programs for high school students to explore STEM fields.
  • CURIE Academy: Cornell University provides a one-week seminar for high school girls in engineering.

STEM Degrees and Career Guides for Women

There are many STEM-related careers and fields. From biochemistry to data science, STEM degrees can teach students critical thinking skills that enable them to perform well in a wide variety of jobs.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for a STEM Degree

Increasingly, scholarship programs are targeting women in STEM, providing financial aid, mentorship opportunities, and resources to tackle the gender gap. Scholarship programs vary from need-based aid to essay and academic competitions.

Campus Clubs and Initiatives for Women in STEM

National and local initiatives are providing unique opportunities for women to gain early exposure to STEM fields. These opportunities broaden a student's knowledge of STEM topics and increase the likelihood that they will choose a STEM career path in the future.
  • Women in STEM: Founded in 2017, this initiative seeks to address the gender gap in STEM fields by creating programs and opportunities for girls in high school.
  • Code to Inspire: Targeting developing countries, this international program teaches programming and entrepreneurship skills to women.
  • Girlstart: With hands-on activities and year-round programming, Girlstart inspires K-12 girls to pursue STEM careers.
  • National Girls Collaborative Project: By coordinating the efforts of more than 42,500 organizations, this project enables girls throughout the U.S. to benefit from STEM programming.
  • Women Who Code: This program provides a support network, resources, and scholarships for women pursuing technology careers.
  • STEM for Her: With hands-on experiences, mentorship programs, and scholarship opportunities, STEM for Her encourages girls in the greater Washington, D.C., area to consider careers in STEM-related fields.

Additional Women in STEM Resources

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