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Posts tagged ‘women in technology’

The Future of Women in STEM: A Multifaceted Approach

 

Katie Bieber is an IT Recruitment Consultant in Roevin’s Edmonton branch. She brings over three yearKatieBiebers of professional experience to her role and in Edmonton’s tech sector.  Katie focuses on clients in the IT realm and has developed exceptional connections and a network of candidates in the STEM field. She works with many passionate and pioneering candidates who overcome impressive hurdles as the only women applying for a role or being the only women on a team. Their perseverance and success have inspired her own passion for promoting women in the tech arena.


With March being National Engineering Month – coupled with International Women’s Day falling on March 8th — Adecco is continuing our look at the underrepresentation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The topic has become an increasingly important point of discussion. Various government bodies, reports, studies, organizations, mission statements and think tanks have explored it in recent years.  The problem has almost unanimous support — both from diversity advocates and the STEM sector itself. In 2010,  Natural Sciences and Engineer Research Council of Canada (NSERC) released an 84-page report on Women in Science and Engineering in Canada which explored the “under-representation of women in the various fields of science and engineering” and noted that this long-recognized problem was “of concern to the…NSERC”.

Are women really underrepresented in STEM?

Undeniably, yes!

WomeninSTEM_infographic

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, women accounted for only 39% of university graduates aged 25-34 with a STEM degree, compared with 66% of university graduates in non-STEM programs.  Moreover, the percentage of women working in the fields has barely changed in 30 years. In 1987, 20% of the STEM workforce were women. Today, it is still only 22%.

And as NSERC pointed out in their report, “Virtually all countries in the world, to varying levels, have fewer women than men studying in the NSE” (natural sciences and engineering).

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How to Recruit More Women in Engineering and Technology

Women in engineering have, unfortunately, always been a rarity. The same can be said of women in technology, specifically information technology, as well as other technical fields, including mathematics and science. In Canada alone, the amount of women in engineering programs has declined from 21% in 2001 to just 17% in 2009, with only 10% of licensed engineers being women.  Likewise, according to the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), in 2009, women only made up about 25% of those in information and communication technology studies. And this trend is not unique to Canada; engineering and technology suffer the similar deficits in the US and the UK. In fact, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women make up only about 25% of those pursuing an education in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics – the so-called STEM segment.

Once upon a time, ridiculous stereotypes perpetuated the idea that women aren’t as capable in the technical fields as men. Of course, long since those stereotypes began, study after study has disproven them. So, if women can perform just as well as men in engineering and technology roles, the questions remain: Why aren’t there more women in engineering? Why aren’t there more women in technology? Some of the possible answers to these questions are disturbing, suggesting widespread sexual discrimination within the engineering and technology industries and/or that our society still clings to long-held, incorrect assumptions about half of the population. In fact, the absence of nearly half the potential workforce in what are arguably Canada’s most crucial sectors is not only a moral shame, but possibly also a looming economic one. Diversity, be it among the sexes, among cultures, or among age groups, allows for more creativity and innovation. Without diversity, teams, companies, and entire industries can easily become intellectually stagnant. Read more