Defined as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEM is arguably the most promising field of the 21st century. Home to advancements such as space exploration, genetic modifying, and "smart" ecosystems, it is promised to rise exponentially as we pass through the years. As technology starts to play a larger part in our society, and therefore lives, it is important to analyze the repercussions of a growing STEM environment.
As many would agree, with the rise of technology, came the rise of universal well-being. Vaccines, stem cell research, and genome sequencing have saved lives. Innovation through companies such as SpaceX have put our mark on Mars. Smartphones have populated the hands of millions, while devices such as the self-driving car are starting to gain traction.
We live in an incredibly exciting time of ingenuity and theory. Our visions have no boundaries, and therefore we are free to explore any facet of the sciences we wish.
But as we do this, it is vital to take a step back and verify we are moving in the right direction. And as of now, we are not. The problem can be traced back to a very simple fundamental: a lack of diversity.
I'll break it down. Progress is happening, innovation is manifesting, and the world is advancing. While this is all great and good, we do have a predicament. And it's the gender gap.
In engineering occupations, women represent only 13% of the overall worker pool. In computers, the percentage is a little more than double, but still troubling at a mere 27%. But, what does this matter? To be blunt, why should we care?
Here's why – it's very simple. In fact, it's so simple that it can be converted into a faux equation.
A lack of diversity in STEM = a lack of diversity in innovation and originality = a release of products that lack visionary variation = a worse technological world in the future.
People come from all different types of backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings. Much of this can be traced back to gender, culture, religion, and race. The status quo within the tech industry is an overwhelming ratio of white/Asian men to minority women. In fact, this discrepancy is so large that is is negatively impacting the future of the applied sciences.
So let's work together – let's bring attention to this issue by increasing exposure and increasing awareness. By doing this, we're able to confront the problem head on and research the root causes. Ultimately, we are able to institute a world with hardworking peoples of all kinds, eager to dream and innovate for the betterment of society.