12 STEM Resources For Young Women - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
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8/6/2014
11:46 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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12 STEM Resources For Young Women

Trying to fuel a young woman's interest in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? These 12 organizations actively help students pursue STEM-related careers.
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(Image: Argonne National Laboratory)
(Image: Argonne National Laboratory)

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, eBay, and others recently released diversity reports, and the revelations weren't exactly shocking: The tech industry is dominated by white males. These reports have spurred discussions and recriminations.

Adding fuel to the fire is the issue of pay inequality for women and men working in IT. According to the InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey, the median total compensation for a female IT staffer is $81,000. For male counterparts it's $94,000, a difference of $13,000. That's a significant gap. And it's echoed in compensation for managers, with median total compensation for men at $122,000, versus $110,000 for women.

Even so, according to a 2011 report from the US Department of Commerce, women with STEM jobs earned 33% more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs -- considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. That means the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.

Other findings from the report were grim:

  • Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the US economy, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.
  • Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.
  • Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation. They are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

As educators, government officials, technology executives, and women's groups discuss these issues, a growing number of grassroots organizations are looking to encourage young women to pursue STEM so they can be part of the next generation of tech workers. Here we highlight 12 of these organizations. If you're a tech executive looking to do something about the gender gap, one of these groups could present an opportunity to volunteer your time to help educate and mentor young women and girls. If you'd like to encourage your own daughter to explore STEM opportunities, these organizations can help.

Let us know what you think. Are these organizations on the right track? Are there other groups you wish we'd included? What are your ideas for how to bridge the technology gender gap?

Susan Nunziata leads the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community.Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM ... View Full Bio

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Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 6:42:42 PM
Re: Great Information
@JamieM272: Thank you for sharing that additional info. I was pleased to note that you are looking for volunteers right here in SF for your October event.

Attention IW community! if you want to get involved in a STEM resource for young women, here's what Chicktech needs for its October event:

Are you in the Bay Area? Would you like to help us expand to San Francisco? Our kickoff event is scheduled for Oct 11-12, 2014 at SFSU. We are looking for partners, sponsors, and volunteers who would like to be part of the team that brings ChickTech to your area!

Please Keep us posted, Jamie on how things progress with this event and others.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 7:21:03 PM
Re: Great Information
@Jaimie: Fantastic, We have a Baker's Dozen with your group added to the list. How long has ChickTech been operating? Can you tell us more about your experiences working with high school girls who are interested in STEM?

Also--any advice for parents in helping daughters develop their STEM interests?
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 11:54:41 AM
Re: Great Information
ChickTech -- love it, Jaimie. Focus on making the tech pursuit cool.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/11/2014 | 8:47:46 AM
Re: Black Girls Code
Hi, Kimberly

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply to my questions. I appreciate it. My questions may seem silly, but in fact, they can go deeper in discussion if we go to the roots and history of why there is a need still today for a group focused on girls of color. 

"Whereas women currently hold about 30% of jobs in technology, people of color only hold about 2-3% (this is not a representation of the number of women of color but includes men)."

The percentage is really shocking. I would have assumed it was higher. There is so much need today for solving issues of gender and race not only in the workplace, but also in society as a whole. Diversity is what should be more common today after all what history has taught us. Hoewever, it seems everything has changed so little in such a long time. 

I do understand your mission, your goal, and your wish to help these young girls become great professionals in computer science and technology in the future. I just wish there wouldn't be a need for a specific group dedicated to girls of color because other groups are not helping as they should. That is my main point, and what I was trying to argue. It's not about doing homework, but about my thinking.

I have checked the Website, and watched several videos you have there, too. There is no doubt your work is great and impressive, and you have done so such a short time that BGC has existed.

I believe my main problem is trying to figure out if being in a dedicated, homogeneous group will not contribute to the girls, or boys growing up in a kind of thinking that encourages discrimination. Yet, I see your points, and obviously, you know more than how it really is to fight this fight than what I can know, or even imagine. 

Kimberly, I don't want you to misunderstand me. In fact, I support you, see your work, and appreacite what you do. I just wish things were different in the 21st century for these girls.

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2014 | 4:17:28 AM
Re: Black Girls Code
SusanN, 

"The female friends I have who also happen to be women of color do attest that they feel even doubly challenged in the white male dominated workplace. I can't claim that is a universal feeling, that's  been my experience based on the people I know."

Today the IT workplace is white male dominated. How is it going to be like in 20 years' time when these seven-year-old girls join the workforce? To get there with some kind of change the work needs to be done today. I truly don't believe the right way of doing it is putting those little girls in a box so early in their life. Those are the women of the future, and future IT women.

It's Okay if there is no agreement with what I think. I just don't like to put people in boxes because I hate it if people do that to me. Boxing and labeling people is not my thing. That's not the way of creating diversity. Well, this is just from my point of view and my thinking.  

-SusanF 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2014 | 2:27:12 AM
Re: Black Girls Code
SusanN, 

"I would sincerely doubt that a girl who is not black would be excluded from the group, nor that any other girls STEM groups might exclude black girls."

That means they could all be in the same group and work together. :D 

"Unfortunately, in the U.S. race-based discrimination is as real as gender-based discrimination."

Yes, and it's sad. My point in this discussion is that the founder in not helping that situation in any way. On the contrary; she is contributing to teaching very young girls that in this society they have to create their own groups and stick together without mixing with the other girls who don't look that them. 

Maybe she is trying to help one thing; on the other hand, she is contributing to discrimination all the same at the same time. 

-SusanF

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2014 | 5:56:33 PM
Re: Black Girls Code
@SusanF: sorry, I saw your second comment after posting ... didn't mean to imply that you hadn't looked at the website. I just think the realities of today's society in the U.S. still make it necessary to have a group like this that can address the unique challenges that black girls face in pursuing STEM careers.

The female friends I have who also happen to be women of color do attest that they feel even doubly challenged in the white male dominated workplace. I can't claim that is a universal feeling, that's  been my experience based on the people I know. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2014 | 5:52:35 PM
Re: 12 STEM Resources For Young Women
@zerox203: Your points are well taken. All the summer camps and science fairs in the world aren't going to make girls and young women like STEM subjects, but for those who do already have an inclination I think these serve a valuable function. The key, as you rightly point out, is to not make it boring--and the only way to do that is for men and women who aremaking their careers in STEM to work on compelling curriculae and activities that show the full breadth and depth of these fields--and to share their own personal enthusiasm for the topics. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious. I know from my own experiences, when I had a math teachter in HS who conveyed pure joy and excitement about trigonometry I did better in the class (which was my second go-round because I failed my first try at trig with a different teacher).

It also starts in the home. My dad was a tech enthusiast and he involved me in his home projects from as early as I can remember, even appointing me the "helper" when he had to make minor fixes to the family car. Exposing girls and boys alike to such experiences is crucial.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2014 | 5:45:47 PM
Re: Black Girls Code
@susanF: Does this mean that white girls are not allowed there if they would be interested in this particular project? Does it mean they had to create this project because girls of color were not allowed in a White Girls Code project? 

These are valid questions, and I would sincerely doubt that a girl who is not black would be excluded from the group, nor that any other girls STEM groups might exclude black girls.

Based on what the organization's founder is saying, her goal is to specifically reach out to young women and girls of color who may face particularly unique challenges in the STEM field that are additive to the challenges they face as women in the first place.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. race-based discrimination is as real as gender-based discrimination.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2014 | 5:41:57 PM
Re: Black Girls Code
@averonica: yes, that pretty well answers SusanF's question. Thank you. 
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