The kids are alright (Women in STEM)

There is a common argument that women are not involved enough in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Maths). My theory is women are plenty involved in STEM but just not in the way that the established academe is recognizing. There are plenty of women in STEM – they publish successful youtube channels, have popular blogs/instagrams and run popular facebook pages.

I have young children and sometimes they ask me “Mum, what job do you think I’ll be good at when I am older”. I try and talk to them about their strengths (you are good at solving problems, at finding answers and fixing things or you are good at trying different things, working with your friends to find solutions and keeping on trying when things are difficult). The truth is, as I try and let them know, the jobs that they will do as adults are probably ones I can’t guess. The guys who invented Google wouldn’t have considered software entrepreneur as an option at 5 years old… and neither would Bethany Mota or Michelle Phan considered social influencer as a career 10years ago.

There is a chance, and indeed a likelihood, that social influencing and connection is a significant part of STEM in the short term. I see it as a really positive thing if teenage girls are running beauty blogs and learning HTML (at least as positive as boys playing video games and contributing to online gaming communities). I’m in awe of them!

I’m not sure if beauty blogging will still be as relevant in 10 years, but that’s the beauty of STEM. In a lot of ways the skill set of STEM is less about technical skills and more an approach of problem solving and using tools to derive an outcome. We won’t know what the technical landscape will look like in 10 years, but I have confidence that the current generation of  bloggers will be able to adapt and take part in the new technologies as they come up.


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