The Marginalization of Women in STEM

The increased prominence of women in the STEM field can be pinpointed to the efforts of campaigns like

The increased prominence of women in the STEM field can be pinpointed to the efforts of campaigns like "Girls Who Code".

Maria Estrada, Spanish Editor

Throughout the course of history, it has been self-evident that women have been oppressed and submitted to domesticity. We sit through endless history lessons and learn about the way men have shaped this world, or how male figures have constructed the democratic principles upon which our country is based. Seldom are women mentioned as anything more than the average housewife, whose sole job revolved around upholding the household and begetting children. The ratification of the 19 Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, which guaranteed full suffrage for women, paved the way for the integration of the work force, yet equality was still a long way off.

Even in today’s society women remain discretely ostracized in certain social and professional aspects. This is especially endemic in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field. From a young age, salient patriarchal gender roles are placed upon children; rarely may one see toy corporations advertise a chemistry set or Lego’s for young girls. As students enter high school, one may observe an infinitesimal percentage of girls involved in highly advanced science and mathematics courses. The truth of the matter is that there is absolutely no reason for girls to be categorized as less qualified to partake in such academic rigor.

“If someone is talented and is able to succeed in a specific area, there is no reason for them not to partake in said activity especially because of their sex. If you’re interested in it and you have a set of skills, follow them where they take you. There is no reason for women not to be a prominent part of the STEM field; if they have the talent they should use it,” Theory of Knowledge (TOK) professor James Dunn said.

When women enter the STEM field they tend to feel like a novelty because they’re entering a field dominated by males. Only 26% of STEM workers are female, and these women make 8% ( less than the average male does. These inequitable trends pinpoint an extremely serious issue; women are socioeconomically disparate to their testosterone-sodden counterparts.

“I totally support more women getting involved in the STEM field. To me, there really is no reason why girls wouldn’t be interested in sciences, math and technology. What’s discouraging is the attitude a lot of the men have in these fields and classes. While the campaigns to empower women are great, I think change needs to happen from within,” senior Margarita Rivers said.

The promotions of campaigns like “Girls Who Code” serve to empower and encourage women. However, the problem lies in the dissimulation of society and the hypocrisy of the patriarchy. We expect that if we augment the amount of women involved this field, this will immediately solve the issue. Nevertheless, no one wants to be part of a hostile workforce in which one is consistently derogated. The true solution is shaping a generation that views women and men as equals. As long as we, as a civilization, foster sexual polarity, there is no capacity for change.