It’s easy to list off all the reasons why women do not choose to pursue a career in STEM… but what about why they do?
This is an area that tends to be overlooked in the movement of diversity and inclusion within STEM.
Understanding the reasons behind the women that do choose a career in STEM and also the persistence of their careers, allows for the opportunity to encourage these factors.
DiscoverE’s recent literature review Despite the odds: Women Who Persist in Engineering dug deeper on this topic.
Here are some important take away points from the article:
Maltese (2008) … found that academic performance differences did not appear to have an influence on students’ persistence. The most important factor related to STEM persistence was positive attitude.
There is strong evidence of the relationship between self-efficacy and persistence in engineering at the college level.
Cech (2011) found that if women develop more confidence about their abilities to be successful professionals and express less ambiguity about their fit or comfort within the discipline, then they remain in engineering at higher rates than expected.
A study by Dasgupta et al. (2015) found that female engineering students who were provided with female mentors early in their college careers formed connections with the mentors, cementing, in effect, the young women’s “sense of belonging.” Fully 100% of the students provided with female mentors stayed in their engineering courses, while 89% of female students without mentors and only 82% of students with male mentors remained.
Having a successful mentor to look up to, along with a positive attitude and confidence goes a long way!
We hope you’re on board, let’s make it happen together!