Less Women in STEM Equals Trouble for Silicon Valley

Right now, it is essential to look at the STEM fields as the future draws closer. The most recent career and technical education statistics at the secondary level from the U.S. Department of Education are from 2005, and they show very low numbers of female students in STEM. In the past, women were not always given the opportunity to pursue careers in the sciences.

In the early and mid-1900s, most women were stay at home mothers while their husbands worked in various industries. Over time, these women have taken a stronger interest in their education and in the STEM fields.

Having more women in the picture will not only help women themselves, it will also help society benefit from their expertise—whether it’s ensuring women are included in clinical trials for medical research or developing a prosthetic knee that works better for women. Also, more women in the STEM fields will add a unique perspective on the plight of women and ways that they are working to increase the awareness of the female voice in STEM. In the next 10/20/50 years, it is essential to increase the amount of women in STEM fields.

There are seven organizations that are positioned to increase the amount of women in STEM. These organizations are:

  • National Girls Collaborative Project
  • National Math and Science Initiative
  • Women in Engineering Proactive Network
  • Million Women Mentors
  • American Association of University Women
  • Scientista
  • Association for Women in Science

Overall, these organizations were started to bring more women into STEM fields. I am glad that these organizations will work hard to make sure that women have more opportunities in STEM fields in the future. According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor and US Census Bureau, 83 percent of executives as top managers at the 10 largest Silicon Valley companies are male. As seen above, more women are needed in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has found that diversifying the STEM Pipeline is its largest focus at this time. The Leadership Group will focus on promoting policies and programs that prepare and encourage inclusion and participation of women and underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers.

As we look at the STEM careers, there are less and less women that are involved, but the above organizations and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group are working hard so that women can be included in the decisionmaking process. It is time to bring more awareness to women and their plight in the STEM fields.

Silicon Valley has recognized the importance of women and is taking a stand to bring more women into the field. Peralta found that too many students in Silicon Valley lack access to opportunities; I am driven by knowing that my life trajectory was strikingly different from others because of the advantages and educational opportunities afforded to me.

“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent … not being encouraged the way they need to.”    

— President Barack Obama, February 2013

Office of Science and Technology Policy