According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be well over 10.5 million jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by 2028—and those jobs will pay almost 2.5 times the average salary. Most experts agree there will not be enough applicants to fill all these jobs in the coming years.
Despite the evidence that, yes, boys and girls have the same aptitude when it comes to subjects as math, there are also countless reasons why women are often discouraged from pursuing STEM-related careers. The “bro” culture in Silicon Valley (or “brogrammer” mentality), longstanding trends in higher education, companies failing to back up words with recruitment efforts, and the lack of female executives at tech and engineering companies are just a few reasons why women interested in STEM often end up pursuing other careers out of frustration. This keeps happening despite the fact many of the world’s leading companies say they are taking action to address this challenge.
To that end, Procter & Gamble joined forces with GE Aviation to hold a workshop for about 200 girls, grades six through nine, last month in Cincinnati, home to P&G’s headquarters. Other companies that participated included E&Y and Google.
An event for 200 students may seem like a drop in the bucket, but the point here is that an old adage applies: Get them while they’re young. There is no shortage of stories about boys being quick to raise their hands in class while social norms long discouraged the same type of academic enthusiasm in girls. Decades of convention will not change overnight. Hence the support that P&G and GE are offering for such events needs to be repeated, scaled up and, yes, publicized.
To P&G’s credit, the CPG giant is adopting other tactics to support STEM inclusion in the markets it serves, as well as include more women with STEM backgrounds in its ranks.
One program the company has launched takes care of another often overlooked demographic—women who have paused their career trajectories in order to raise kids or take care of a family member for health reasons. The company also supports girls' STEM education in the U.S. in partnership with Girls Who Code, as well as in other markets such as Cairo, Egypt, as summarized in its 2019 Citizenship Report released this week (page 109 for reference).
Here at 3p, watch for us to cover this trend more in 2020, because companies that strive to have an inclusive culture in what are traditionally male-dominated industries are doing the right thing for many reasons: It’s good for upward mobility, good for our economy, and can help make for a more energized and engaged workforce.
Image credit: Unsplash
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.