STEM stands for innovation; Not derogation


     The yearly salary for a man who holds a job in a STEM field is roughly $85,000, while a woman only makes $60,828 according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

     For Latina and Black women in STEM, the number drops more. They only make around $52,000 a year. There’s a clear issue here, because shouldn’t people doing the same set of jobs get paid a similar amount? The wage gap shouldn’t be this wide since all these professionals went to college and studied their practice extensively. They’re more than qualified to do their job, so why isn’t their pay the same?

     It’s no secret men have dominated the STEM scene, and society has been built around the notion that it should be that way. Women are seen as and fabricated to be nurses or teachers, never as architects or engineers.

     Why is this still the case? In an era where public education exists to craft the minds needed for a better future, people should be uplifting more women to engage in these jobs–not continuing to peg them as less than their male counterparts. There’s an incredibly large demand for people to hold STEM positions, yet society insists on degrading and invalidating brilliant minds just because of their gender. 

     The AAUW states that female teachers often experience anxiety when teaching math, and can pass this on to their female students. Some female teachers subconsciously have a tendency to grade girls harsher than boys on the same assignment, and believe girls need to work harder to achieve the same level as boys.

     Extensive research has shown there’s no innate cognitive biological differences between men and women in math. The anxiety teachers feel and eventually could pass down to young girls isn’t backed up by fact, but rather other people’s interpretations and invalidation. Think about all the potential the STEM workforce is losing just because girls are taught they’re bad at math or science.

     Furthermore, Women in STEM fields are put under higher performance pressure due to the fact there’s so few women in those positions. Women only make up 28% of the STEM workforce in the US, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project. This means women are more inclined to feel as if they’re “tokens” that represent their entire gender as a whole. They feel like they can’t make any mistakes, and that notion is unfortunately einforced by greater gender discrimination. 

     Psychology Professor Isis Settles from Michigan State University reports that women in STEM experience greater gender discrimination related to salaries, hiring, equipment, administrative positions, and access to assignments compared to women in Social Sciences. They’re also more likely to experience gender derogation and sexual harassment.

     It isn’t just to continue mistreating women who decide to break away from norms that are long outdated. No scientific evidence or facts exist to prove any women are inferior to men in the STEM scene, meaning it’s time for more people to stop reinforcing myths or harmful notions that say otherwise.