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Women’s involvement in the workforce has revolutionized the US economy. Currently, women constitute about half of the primary workers in the USA. According to available statistics, since 1970, the women’s workforce has contributed around $13,000 to average family earnings. This led to a growth of $2 trillion dollars in the US economy. Currently, women are not merely interested in pursuing graduate programs, but they are also passionate about study in advanced programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). A wage disparity remains — women make only 77 cents to every dollar made by men.

STEM Continues to Contribute to the US Job Market

In the US, the abbreviation STEM is used in discussions about education and immigration when addressing the apparent lack of competent candidates for high-tech professions. Fast-changing technology is the gateway to the future, and STEM offers the jobs of tomorrow that are significant for economic growth. It’s crucial for the US to focus on developing technology to continue as a frontrunner in the global tech arena. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of STEM jobs will grow around 13 percent by 2022. In comparison with the 11 percent growth rate anticipated for all jobs, STEM will produce the fastest career growth in the next decade. It is projected that approximately 1.4 million computer science jobs will be available in the US by the end of 2020.

Significant Women Founders in STEM

It’s clear that the demand in STEM fields is on the rise throughout the world. Melissa Jawaharlal and Lavanya Jawaharlal are both Mechanical Engineering graduates. They have developed an inexpensive robotic kit called Pi-bot which grabbed attention around the world. They have made significant contributions to the field of STEM and co-founded STEM Center USA. They continue to inspire women by sharing their experiences, so that others can attain success in their lives. They want to motivate other women to join the next generation of the technology workforce.

Prominent Women in the Field of STEM

In Forbes’ 2014 list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, 18 boast of holding the highest positions in the largest tech companies of the world. Sheryl Sandberg, Virginia Rometty and Susan Wojcicki are among those who made it to the top 12. At age 44, Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and secured the 9th position in 2014. Virginia Rometty secured the 10th position in 2014. She started with IBM as systems engineer in 1981 and has proven her business acumens and leadership. When she decided to pass up her yearly bonus due to a 5% profit drop at IBM in 2013, Rometty set an example that was admired by co-workers and the media. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of the YouTube, was ranked No. 12 in 2014. She has also served as Consigliore for Google’s ads. She is a woman who knows the right way to make profit and controlled about 90% of the revenue of the trade.

STEM Facing Lack of Competent Workers

According to a recent talent recruiters’ survey of Fortune 1000 companies that was led by Bayer Corporation, STEM is facing a lack of workers when compared to the high demand for jobs in these fields. Job creation is increasing in both the traditional and non-traditional STEM companies, but the available talent pool is stagnant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 68% of women are admitted to colleges compared to 63% of men, and women candidates exceed the number of male candidates in graduate schools. Despite this, women constitute just a quarter of tech industry workers. What is the main cause of the lack of tech workers in STEM? Many industry experts hold the opinion that women have generally been underrepresented in STEM, especially in technology. These experts have found several reasons for the existing gender gap in STEM fields and are examining various ways to increase diversity in the workplace.

Reasons for the Gender Gap

The gender gap could be due to how women drop out of STEM fields at different stages of their careers. According to statistician Berry Vetter, 280 of 2,000 9th grade boys and 210 of 2,000 9th grade girls take up mathematics when pursuing a technical career. Out of these, 143 men and 45 women major in science in college. Furthermore, 44 of these men and 20 of these women complete their science degrees. Only 5 of these men and 1 of these women achieve a PhD in science.

Strategies Adopted to Remove the Gender Barriers

Given these statistics, how can a technical recruiter maintain gender equality in STEM? Anne-Marie Slaughter, the woman holding the position of US Director of Policy Planning, suggested some strategies for both corporate and political environments to allow women to give their best to the roles they undertake. Educating individuals about the stereotype threat, introducing role models and self-affirmation are some strategies proposed for removing gender barriers in STEM.