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  • Writer's pictureConnor Gartin

"The Fight for Fairness”

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

In today’s ever changing world, working for equity and complete control over your pathway has become increasingly important. As adolescent females are continued to be left out within the STEM field, the fight for fairness continues.


Flow chart demonstrating the percentages of adolescent female students who continued on with a STEM related education from 92 lower and middle socioeconomic regions. UNICEF / Andaleeb Alam.

Why are Females being Left Out?

According to UNICEF,

“Girl’s exclusion from education begins early and increases over their lifetime. While the vast majority of adolescent girls of upper secondary age begin primary education, fewer than half make it to the upper secondary level where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills can be solidified”.

This unequal balance is seen frequently in developing countries, as unequal gender norms and gender bias are seen in curriculum, classrooms, and STEM related jobs. Even in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, there is a lack of representation among higher ranked officials and role models for adolescent females to look up to. Combined with gender stereotypes and lack of STEM resources, females being left out is an issue every country can work on, whether developed or still developing.


How Long has the Gender Gap been an Issue?

Closing the gender gap has been an issue for over a hundred years in the United States. Previously, the gender gap was legislatively addressed for the first time with the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1963 during the Civil Rights Movement. According to Investopedia, The Equal Pay Act forbade male and female wages to be different for

“jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions”.

Previous attempts have been made before this, such as Winifred Stanley, a congresswomen from New York, pushed for a bill that prohibits pay discrimination based on the account of sex. Ultimately, the bill failed to make it to Congress and was condensed into Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act. Even today, unequal pay, treatment, and a male dominated workplace make it hard for female leaders to shine.


How do We Fix It?

With countries around the world at different development points, there are a few ideas that everybody can work on. Stated in a report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), objectives that every company, school, resource center, country and person can do to achieve gender equity are…


  • Raising awareness to parents about how to encourage daughters or young female students about science, technology, engineering and mathematics can help boost the mindset that females can do anything a man can do.

  • Spotlight key and diverse scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who are making a difference in the world without holding back who they are.

  • Have work opportunities by not only hiring more female employees, but constantly promote the idea of inclusion and advancement so women can continue in the STEM field without feeling the pressure of being outnumbered to males.

  • Promoting a fair and equal pay among job options in the field by signing petitions and going to in-person rallies if applicable.


The fight for gender equity among the STEM community has progressed since the Civil Rights era in the United States; however, the progress must continue in all countries, no matter how developed or developing they still are for maximum fairness and accountability in getting females the right to achieve their dreams.


 

Sources

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Bleiweis, Robin. “Quick Facts about the Gender Wage Gap.” Center for American Progress, 24 Mar. 2020, www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/03/24/482141/quick-facts-gender-wage-gap/.


Daugherty, Greg. “The History of the Gender Wage Gap in America.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 28 July 2021, www.investopedia.com/history-gender-wage-gap-america-5074898.


“Mapping Gender Equality in Stem from School to Work.” UNICEF Office of Global Insight & Policy, 20 Nov. 2020,

www.unicef.org/globalinsight/stories/mapping-gender-equality-stem-school-work.


“The Stem Gap: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” AAUW, 5 Oct. 2020, www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/.

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