International School of Los Angeles

Opinion: We need more women in STEM

Mae Jemison. Ada Lovelace. Katherine Johnson. Hedy Lamarr. Do any of these names ring a bell?

Let me try something else.

Neil Armstrong. Bill Gates. Albert Einstein. Thomas Edison. These names might sound familiar.

Well, while I am at it, I might as well tell you who these women were. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman in space. Ada Lovelace was the first ever computer programmer. Katherine Johnson made the walk on the moon possible. Hedy Lamarr’s communication device led to the creation of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the GPS.

Why is it that these women have not been recognized for their work and accomplishments? Why is it that they are simply being forgotten, erased vestiges of the past?

I may or may not have an answer to that: we live in a patriarchal society. If this was not true, a lot of things would have been different both today and in the past.

Indeed, The Awakening would thus be about Robert Lebrun’s quest for independence.

People wouldn’t see women as minorities. Terms such as “feminist” and “herstory” wouldn’t even have been created, because the need for them wouldn’t exist.

Obviously, women are not treated as equals, especially in the STEM fields.

Of course, our current society is definitely evolving. However, the statistics still illustrate the immense problem that needs to be conquered.

Twenty-four percent of all STEM jobs are taken by women. That means that for every four people working in a scientific domain, only one is a woman. Moreover, 41 percent of women quit their jobs in the tech fields because the work environment is hostile. Many women experience gender discrimination at work, and 36 percent of them affirm that they have been sexually harassed at their workplace.

So yes, our society is evolving and building more opportunities for these women in STEM, but the gap is still quite wide. However, there is a solution. You see, the roots of the problem at hand really aren’t too far down the surface of the Earth, and it thus won’t be difficult to overcome this issue.

This problem has two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and it lives right in the middle of our society. This problem is us.

Who else could be the arsenal of our own downfall? How could these inequalities be created, if we aren’t the ones who create them? By what means do they continue to grow and evolve, if we aren’t the ones who feed them? Why do they have such a prominent place in our lives, if it is not us who authorize them to reign?

That is why I’m inviting you all today to galvanize yourselves, your friends, and your families, in order to ensure equality for women in STEM.

Together, we must ensure that one woman’s participation in science is not a rare sight that happens once every blue moon, but rather, becomes the norm.

Together, we must ensure that little girls don’t back down from a career in STEM just because they think it’s for boys.

Together, we must be the change.

Sign this petition if you agree: Reduce the gender gap in STEM fields!