Getting more women involved in STEM is crucial to the success of those fields. However, many women feel discouraged by the lack of women they see in STEM careers and feel that it isn’t an option for them. Colleges can help reverse this opinion and inspire more women to pursue STEM majors by doing these four things.
Hold outreach events
One of the best ways to get women in the STEM field is to encourage them from an early age. While it doesn’t make any sense for a college to start recruiting kindergarteners into STEM, they can hold outreach events targeted towards middle and high schoolers. Ohio State has a Women in Engineering program that helps to introduce STEM to young girls by holding events and one-day camps.
Promote women in STEM in marketing materials
It may sound simple, but including pictures and testimonials of women in STEM fields in college marketing materials can help to encourage more women to choose a major in that field. One of the biggest reasons why women leave the STEM field is because there are no other women in their classes. By showing interested girls that your program includes women will encourage them to choose it.
Introduce women to role models
Change up your curriculum and host events on campus that discuss women in STEM. Because STEM is disproportionately filled with men, it’s easy to talk about all of their accomplishments and introduce students to men founders. However, women have made huge strides and discoveries in the field, and they should be celebrated. Invite some of these successful women to campus to lead a lecture or talk with students in different groups to promote the success of different groups of people.
Create a mentorship program
Having a female mentor positively influences the retention of the mentee and gives them a stronger feeling of confidence, motivation and belonging in the field. A mentor allows students to visualize themselves in a similar career and can provide guidance when a student is unsure about their career path or are struggling in an area of their studies. A mentor can steer a student through these bumps, as they’ve likely dealt with them on their own.