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Large gender imbalance in STEM programs: Ryesron University study

By Admin User on November 1, 2017

A recent study from Ryerson University talks about a lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. The research finds that within these four programs, collectively known as STEM Programs, there is a significant gender imbalance. The study’s focus was to address issues of underrepresentation.

NAIT’s Women in Trades and Technology group, or WITT, says its goal is to have is to have an enrolment rate of over 30 per cent women in these programs. The current enrolment rate of women within trades is seven per cent, and enrolment rates in technology and engineering are around the same.

“There’s over a hundred programs here at NAIT, and about 70% of them are low female enrolment,” said Stephenie Fuhrer, WITT’s coordinator.

WITT frequently has workshops for its trades programs at junior high schools, to reach young women an early age. The study, however, finds it is not enough to increase enrolment.

The study found that “workshops for women in STEM and science camps for girls, will not change participation rates of women and under-represented groups in STEM unless the culture and workplace also increase accessibility by removing systemic barriers and bringing in accountability and consequences.”

Furthermore, the study acknowledges people are aware of diversity, including its benefits. It says that instead of just talking about change, there should be action to address the issues, and move past their past prejudices.

Regardless, WITT hopes that by showcasing more women in these fields it will inspire more young women to pursue a STEM career. They will have an event on Wednesday, where women can search for a mentor in a male-dominated program, or be a mentor for a student in one of these fields.



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