It’s 2023 and women in STEM (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields are still largely outnumbered by men.
In the US, women take up only 27% of STEM roles. The numbers are even lower for African American women, who account for about 2% of these roles.
While in the UK, only 14% of the STEM workforce is made up of females, according to Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) data.
Why aren’t there more women in STEM?
This question is so pressing that there’s an entire day dedicated to it. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science was established on Dec. 22, 2015 to recognise the critical role women and girls play in STEM.
It’s now celebrated every Feb. 11. to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
Celebrating this day lets us honour and highlight women’s significant scientific achievements and place a much-needed focus on girls entering STEM courses.
Easing this process gives girls greater access to more jobs and greater pay.
Recognising the importance of supporting women in STEM, many universities and organisations have established programmes and scholarships specifically for this.
Here are three universities working towards increasing the number of women in STEM
NC State University
When it comes to awarding bachelor’s degrees to women in engineering, NC State University reigns supreme. The university ranks among the top public universities supporting women and minorities in STEM.
In fall 2021, its first-year engineering class was 32.8% female — nearly double the national average of 19%
The university offers several engineering programmes for women, including Women and Minority Engineering Programmes and Women in Engineering Programmes.
It’s also home to clubs and organisations such as the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Aerospace, and Women in Nuclear Programmes.
To prepare African-American women for a career in STEM, Spelman College established the Global Research and Education in STEM programme.
As a G-STEM scholar, you’ll get a mentor to provide advice before, during and after your research lab or field experience abroad.
The Centre of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM provides research opportunities in emerging STEM fields, such as AI, cybersecurity, quantum science, and more, as well.
It also funds scholarships for postgraduate degrees in STEM.
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College is recognised as one of the first women’s colleges in the US. It aims to promote peer mentorships and support women in STEM fields.
Over 33% of their students major in STEM fields, surpassing the average at coeducational institutions.
Since 2014, the college has been hosting an annual hackathon called HackHolyoke.
The coed hackathon brings together young women aspiring to be innovators and aims to promote the number of women in the tech industry.
Scholarships for women in STEM
British Council scholarships for women in STEM
British Council launched their scholarship programme to provide financial aid for women who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM.
Partnering with 26 universities in the UK, this scholarship is targeted towards helping women from the US, South Asia, South East Asia, Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine.
Candidates will receive a scholarship for a master’s degree or an early academic fellowship in any STEM programme at one of the top universities in the UK.
The Science Ambassador Scholarship
Created by the makers of the game Cards Against Humanity, the Science Ambassador Scholarship was launched to help boost the number of women in STEM.
This scholarship is open to women in their senior year of high school or those pursuing an undergraduate course.
Candidates will have to record a three-minute video on a STEM subject of their choosing and post it on YouTube.
The winner will be awarded a full-tuition award for up to four years.
Free STEM courses for women
Cracking Mechanics: Further Maths for Engineers
Established by Laura Dickinson from Bristol University, Cracking Mechanics: Further Maths for Engineers is a free online course designed to introduce students to physics and maths concepts.
The six-week course covers parts of A Level maths and further maths and examples of how these skills are employed in mechanical, aerospace, civil, environmental, materials and electrical engineering.
If you want to learn about the many moons in our solar system, uncover what we cannot know in science, or unravel the mystery behind maths, head to Open Learn.
These courses, and more, are free and includes a statement of participation on completion. Happy learning!