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Tag: Women

The Perpetuation of the Gender Gap in STEM Fields

Within the last few decades, there has been an enormous push to increase the number of women in STEM fields. This is largely a result of the rise of today’s digital age where technological and scientific industries have started to dominate the labor market, thereby exponentially increasing the number of STEM-related jobs available. Despite these countless opportunities, why do men continue to dominate fields such as medicine and computer science?

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Sacrifices in Engineering

For decades, society was under the impression that technological and engineering innovations were thought to be “male territory” only. In today’s world, women working in the engineering business have people like Amy Bix to thank for that. Bit was an engineer in the early 20th century, and in her piece, “From “Engineeresses” to “Girl Engineers” to “Good Engineers”: A History of Women’s U.S. Engineering Education”, she depicts the struggles and oppression experienced by women in the workplace, particularly as engineers. Bix was an extraordinary women with passion and conviction, and with that, was able to “To improve the climate for women in education and employment, activists organized to call attention to problems and demanded change. To aid women directly, female engineers created systems of social, psychological, and financial mutual support”. Bix was entirely aware of her surroundings; she had a complete understanding of where women were ranked in the workplace, and knew what was necessary in order to move them up. She was organized and efficient as she knew she would need to fight tirelessly to end such a popular stigma: that women did not belong in the engineering workplace. This was made evident constantly: “Engineering education in the United States has had a gendered history, one that until relatively recently prevented women from finding a place in the predominantly male technical world”. Masculinity was something women were not able to escape in the late 20th century, but women like BIx were able to have influence: “women studying or working in engineering were popularly perceived as oddities at best, outcasts at worst, defying traditional gender norms…activists fought to change that situation, to win acknowledgment of women’s ability to become good engineers”. Bix was fighting an uphill battle; gaining proportional representation in the workforce of engineering was long down the road, and nevertheless, Bix “undertook conscious, passionate campaigns to break down institutional barriers”. It is because of women like Bix that “In 1979, women made up 12.1 percent of undergraduates enrolled in engineering across the United States; by 1998, that percentage had gradually risen to 19.7 percent”. Slowly but surely women were able to work their way up in the workforce of technology and engineering in the late 20th century. We are fortunate to have women like Amy Bix to thank for her dedication and sacrifices that have significantly bettered the world we live in today.

Gender and Science

For many centuries women have been discriminated against in many different ways, but most recently there struggle has come in the workplace. Since the 20th century women have had similar rights to men, though they have been directed towards more feminine professions and lives, such as being a stay at home mom or housewife. But even women that make it in the professional world rarely make it into fields in science such as engineering or physics.
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