Girls in STEM: A Guest Post With Chelsea from 'Books For Thought'

Sunday, August 14, 2016
Today, we have a guest poster for the Summer Blog Promo Tour. This was originally started by The Book Bratz. Check them out here. Without a further ado, here's Chelsea from Books for Thought


Hey everyone! Today, Wren has invited me to talk to you all about my experience being a female in a STEM job. For those who don't know (and I didn't at first) a STEM job refers to a job in one of four fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The issue surrounding these fields is that it's mostly men in these jobs, since women weren't allowed to do these kinds of things a long time ago. Now that women have (should) equal rights they can do these jobs but they're still mostly men. Maybe women don't think they can do certain jobs or maybe they're scared to be surrounded by men all the time. Both valid reasons since society makes us believe that we aren't as good as men.

1) What is your STEM job, and why did you choose this job?
I'm a web developer (computer programmer) and also a graphic designer. I actually took design first and in that course we had a little taste of web developing. When I couldn't find a design job in my area I went back to school to learn more about web development because I was interested and liked to do it. I didn't even realize at the time that there would be few girls in my class. We started with 30 people, 5 of which were girls, and then ended with 6 people where there were 2 girls. I do feel good about myself for completing the course where so many people dropped out.

2) What is your favorite part about your job?
I just like the whole idea of designing and building websites. People go online every day and have no clue what's behind the scenes. It's cool getting to be a part of that.

3) Why do you think girls don't seem to go into STEM jobs?
I feel like a lot of girls just don't see it as an option. They're also probably scared to be in such a male dominated industry which I don't blame them for. I think schools need to bring more awareness to these specific areas.

4) What are your thoughts on the gender gap between men and women in STEM jobs? (For example, the difference in wages.)
This isn't something I've ever experienced and I've been lucky that way. I'm not sure if it's not as big of an issue here in Canada but I'm sure it still happens. Obviously it's unfair but it's difficult to change the mindset of so many people at once. I think (hope) this gap won't be there in the future but all we can do right now is to fight to eliminate it.

5) What's your favorite book about girls in STEM?
I really love The Lunar Chronicles and love Cinder for being such an awesome mechanic. It's funny how she mentions the looks she sometimes gets when people realize she's Cinder first of all because she's young and secondly because she's a girl. But she's awesome at it! Also Mercy in the Mercy Thompson series is a pretty awesome mechanic and I love her a lot.
I haven't read any books with a female programmer yet.

6) What would you like to see in fiction about girls in STEM?
Just more of them in general! There's nothing wrong with not being in one of these jobs but we don't see a lot of it in books. I also tend to read a lot of YA books so those characters are usually in either high school or college. Even when they are in college a lot of the time it's in an English course, which there's nothing wrong with! We just see a lot of the same things. That goes for anything in books these days. There's always trends and the authors always follow them.
As you can see, we still have lots of progress to make so that women in STEM jobs isn't an issue anymore. It's not just about getting them in these jobs, it's about them being treated fairly. If a woman is in one of these jobs they're often questioned more than a male would be and lots are sexually harassed. I'm lucky enough to have a good job where my gender doesn't influence anything (even though I still get the "You're a programmer look" from outside clients). We're progressing slowly but I don't think it's enough.

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