More women to pursue STEM careers

Engineering recruiters can expect to see more women in the industry in the near future.

Engineering recruiters should begin preparing for an influx of qualified candidates entering the sector. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are attracting a large number of students interested in pursuing careers in this area.

On Mar. 23, President Obama hosted the 2015 White House Science Fair and pledged to invest more than $240 million to raise awareness about STEM careers and get young girls and boys adequately prepared to enter this rapidly expanding field. All told, the "Educate to Innovate" program created by the president has generated more than $1 billion in funding targeting the future STEM professionals in this country, according to a release.

Women encouraged to pursue STEM careers
Although the STEM sector isn't one that is predominately dominated by men, there has been a strong push to attract the interest of women in this sector and keep them working in the industry once they begin their careers.

"Retention in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is not very high for women," Natalie Harvey, president of the Women in Science and Engineering Conference told The Battalion, Texas A&M University's student newspaper. "WISE was started to provide a network and give a foundation to encourage women to stay in these programs and further their education."

At this year's event, Alveda Williams, who serves as research and development leader at The Dow Chemical Company, was the keynote speaker. Williams is closely involved in Dow's Building Engineering Science and Talent program, which allows minorities – particularly women – holding doctoral and post-doctoral degrees to pursue careers within the chemical company.

All told, WISE helps women gain a holistic view of the STEM sector, both from an educational and professional standpoint.

In a separate report, CBS News affiliate WSPA-TV in South Carolina reported on a visit by the Western Carolina Society of Women Engineers to AJ Whittenberg Elementary School in Greenville. The purpose was to allow students, particularly girls, an opportunity to speak with women STEM professionals and learn more about the field as part of National Introduce a Girl to Engineering day.

"Most engineers are men," Grace Blassingame, a fourth grade student at Whittenberg Elementary told the news I outlet. "I want to show the men up – I can do what you can do."

WSPA wrote that at present, roughly 10 percent of all engineers are women. This is one of the reasons why there is such a strong push to try and increase these numbers.

×