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Introduction

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How can we raise, recruit, and retain more women in engineering, tech, and STEM careers in Miami?

Most of the jobs for 2030 have yet to be invented. Imagine what a decade later could look like. By 2040, professions that bridge technology like AI-enhanced teacherbot engineers, mixed reality experience builders, asteroid mining bot operators, digital house architects and aerial security teams are going to be some of the most common jobs. How did we get here?

The STEM workforce (science, technology, engineering, and math) has grown rapidly in recent decades – STEM jobs account for nearly 7% of all U.S. occupations in 2019. STEM  occupations are expected to continue to experience rapid growth in the coming decades – and at a higher rate and with a higher median wage than non-STEM jobs.

Yet, the representation of women varies across the job clusters that make up the STEM workforce. While in health-related jobs, women are overrepresented compared with their nearly half share of the overall workforce, they remain underrepresented in computing and engineering jobs. Women comprise 48% of all workers in the life sciences (such as the biological or agricultural sciences), up from 34% in 1990. The share of women in the physical sciences (such as astronomy, physics, or chemistry) has also risen, from 22% in 1990 to 40% as of 2019. However, in engineering, women’s representation has inched up, from 12% in 1990 to 15% today. It’s not about ability or lack of interest. Rather, lack of encouragement, discouragement, lack of role models, peer pressure, and harassment in the workplace all play a role. Moreover, women who do pursue STEM jobs end up leaving at disproportionately higher rates than men. 

STEM workers are society's problem solvers and solutions finders. Yet, with women missing at the table, key insights and innovations may be missed. To be effective and long-lasting – and inclusive – STEM engagement with girls needs to start early

Featured Sources

Rebekah Monson

Rebekah Monson

Co-Founder & COO of Letterhead

Chelsea Wilkerson

Chelsea Wilkerson

Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

Amy Renshaw

Amy Renshaw

CEO & Founder of Code/Art

Amaka Amalu

Amaka Amalu

Founder of Tech Girl Power

Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani

Founder of Girls Who Code

… and 29 organizations

Why it matters

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center

Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress

World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum

White House

White House

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA

If technology is designed by only half of the population that’s male, we’re missing out on the innovations, solutions, and creations that women could be bringing to the table.

Ultimately, diverse teams perform better. 

Where we are now

Catalyst Workplaces that Work for Women

Catalyst Workplaces that Work for Women

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA

U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code

Miami-Dade County Office of the Commission Auditor

Miami-Dade County Office of the Commission Auditor

Florida International University Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center

Florida International University Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center

Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing

Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing

University of Miami College of Engineering

University of Miami College of Engineering

While women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. Women who do pursue a career in STEM are paid less than their male co-workers, and experience isolation, discrimination, and hostile work environments in their male-dominated workplaces. And, ultimately, women leave STEM careers at disproportionately higher rates than men, particularly those who are working parents.

United States
  • Kindergarten-aged boys and girls show equal interest in STEM activities, yet by the third-grade girls begin opting out of STEM saying that it’s “for boys.” 

  • The percentage of women in STEM jobs made gains – from 8% of STEM workers in 1970 to 27% in 2019. Men still led the field, making up 52% of all U.S. workers and 73% of all STEM workers.

  • Women working in engineering occupations, specifically, increased from 3% in 1970 to 15% in 2019. While the percentage of women in computer occupations is higher than in 1970, it decreased between 1990 and 2019.

  • Women employed full-time, year-round in STEM occupations earned more than their non-STEM counterparts; however, the gender earnings gap persisted within STEM occupations. Among the 70 detailed STEM occupations the Census Bureau reports on, women earned more than men in one STEM occupation – computer network architects (women represented 8% of those in this occupation).


Miami-Dade

  • A 2021 survey showed two advancements to women’s opportunities: 1) two in three women who had left the workforce indicated they planned to return in the future and 2) 56% of women were considering a career change as a result of the pandemic – 8 in 10 women showed interest in transitioning to the STEM field. 

  • In 2019, women in Miami-Dade County earned more than men in only two occupations: computer and mathematical occupations, as well as architectural and mathematical occupations. Albeit the gap was small at 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent. Researchers note that one year is not sufficient time to determine a trend.

  • In 2019, there were close to 600,000 persons in the 25 and over age group in Miami-Dade who had bachelor’s degrees. Of these, 23.4% of female bachelor’s degree holders have science and engineering degrees

  • At Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing, in the 2019 academic year, women earned 20% of bachelor's degrees, 30% of master's degrees, and 28% of doctoral degrees. 

  • At the University of Miami College of Engineering, in 2018, 31% of the undergraduate student body was female, the College welcomed its first woman Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and two of the associate deans were women. However, the College recognizes that there is much work to do to support women students and women in engineering professions.

  • The following table displays the top ten occupations, from 2019 data, where women working full time were paid the highest. Women are still only a small percentage of the workforce in these occupations (20.3% in computer and 15.5% in architecture and engineering), and the small sample for these estimates might not be indicative of a trend. The gaps in 2018 were in favor of men. The pay gaps for these same occupations in 2019 were more than 10 percent at the state and national levels.

Perspectives

Rebekah Monson

Rebekah Monson

Co-Founder & COO of Letterhead

Chelsea Wilkerson

Chelsea Wilkerson

Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

Amy Renshaw

Amy Renshaw

CEO & Founder of Code/Art

Amaka Amalu

Amaka Amalu

Founder of Tech Girl Power

Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani

Founder of Girls Who Code

  • “The best thing we can do to make tech serve everyone better is to get more diverse people involved in making tech.”

    Rebekah Monson

    Rebekah Monson

    Co-Founder & COO of Letterhead

  • "How can we support more girls to increase participation in STEM fields? Help her access STEM opportunities. The hands-on experience girls get in STEM clubs and activities stoke their interest. Through Girl Scouts, for example, girls can earn badges in cybersecurity, space science, and computer coding. Local nonprofits like Code/Art, Dibia Dream, and Girls Who Code host STEM activities and workshops year-round. During spring breaks, Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, Frost Science, and Florida International University offer eco-adventures, science and STEM mini-camps.”

    Chelsea Wilkerson

    Chelsea Wilkerson

    Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

  • “Many girls never even try coding because they think it’s purely computational and not something where they can be creative. By infusing art into all of our coding lessons, we show them coding can be creative. That’s where Code/Art really stands out.”

    Amy Renshaw

    Amy Renshaw

    CEO & Founder of Code/Art

  • "Our goal is to introduce girls from underserved communities in Miami to dynamic STEM experiences and ensure they are included in this growing field, where 93% of the positions have wages above the national average and annual salaries start around $66,000.”

    Amaka Amalu

    Amaka Amalu

    Founder of Tech Girl Power

  • “Girls think about computer science, and that job looks and feels isolating—it doesn’t look like you’re working on things that are important. And when they turn on the TV or open up a magazine they don’t see coders who look like them," Saujani said. "We want to create inspirational stories that they can see themselves in."

    Reshma Saujani

    Reshma Saujani

    Founder of Girls Who Code


Next

Research

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA

National Sciences Foundation

National Sciences Foundation

MSCI

MSCI

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Society of Women Engineers

Society of Women Engineers

Sociology of Education

Sociology of Education

National Girls Collaborative Project

National Girls Collaborative Project

Dive into some of the latest local, national, and international research about girls and women in engineering and STEM careers.

For perspectives on girls and STEM, look here:

with that of boys and young men.

For data on college women and STEM, look here:

  • Women who enter college planning to major in STEM fields change to non-STEM majors at a rate of 49.2%, whereas 32.5% of men do the same. 

  • Perceived gender barriers are still high for girls and may help explain why STEM fields aren’t their top career choices. 

For reports on women in the STEM workforce, look here:

Sparks

The New York Times

The New York Times

Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review

Yale Scientific

Yale Scientific

TedEX

TedEX

The Atlantic

The Atlantic

Time

Time

Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts

Solutions

Raising, recruiting, and retaining more girls and women in engineering and STEM-related careers will take all of us - parents, mentors, teachers, and managers - across the education and career lifespans. 

Parents / Caretakers / Mentors 

To be effective and long-lasting, STEM engagement needs to start early. 

  • Give girls role models. Seeing women who have succeeded in STEM helps inspire and motivate girls, especially when they can relate to these role models as people with lives outside of work.

  • Teach them the skills they will need, encourage them, and show them that tech careers will help change the world for the better.

  • Invite questions. Encourage girls’ natural curiosity about the world – scientists and engineers are professional question askers and problem solvers. Even if you aren’t comfortable with STEM, you can discover and learn together.

Schools / Nonprofits / Community-Based Organizations

Help her access STEM activities.

Colleges / Universities

Keep engineering relevant.

  • Enhance classroom content. Reframe the goals of engineering research and curriculums to be more relevant to societal needs.

  • Build community. Encourage mentorship opportunities that establish a sense of “belonging” with their academic and professional colleagues

  • Inspire self-efficacy. Foster positive, affirming experiences early in students’ academic careers that will reverse negative stereotypes and gender biases.

Companies

Make the workplace a desirable one to work and thrive in.

  • Encourage growth. Give women stretch assignments beyond their existing skill levels – inviting women to stand in for managers or high-status colleagues, take higher-level responsibilities, and/or take on new, challenging areas of work. 

  • Provide personalized feedback. Personalized feedback can help her overcome uncertainties around her work.

  • Demonstrate work-life balance. Show them how work and parental responsibilities could be combined.

Government

Invest in STEM.

  • Provide federal grants for programs in elementary school, middle school, and high school that would help create educational opportunities in STEM fields for girls.

On the horizon

The Miami Herald

The Miami Herald

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College

Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing

Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing

Colleges, companies and investors are pouring funds into programs encouraging women and underrepresented communities toward tech studies.

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