STEM: Empowering More Young Women to Enter STEM

The STEM community is at the forefront of the world’s rapid scientific and technological development. Its members play a major role in generating new ideas and provide the critical thinking necessary to achieve modern advancements. And while women continue to make great strides in the workplace, they remain underrepresented in STEM.

In fact, the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) released a report in 2017, detailing the gender dynamics of the STEM economy. Key findings in the report include:

  • Women filled 47% of all U.S. jobs in 2015 but held only 24% of STEM jobs. Likewise, women constitute slightly more than half of college educated workers but make up only 25% of college educated STEM workers.
  • While nearly as many women hold undergraduate degrees as men overall, they make up only about 30% of all STEM degree holders. Women make up a disproportionately low share of degree holders in all STEM fields, particularly engineering.
  • Women with STEM degrees are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation.



So how do we close the gender gap and empower the next generation of female innovators and leaders? Our client YWCA Princeton has the right idea—they’re a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring young girls through free initiatives, such as the All-Girls Competitive Robotics Program. This program is hosted by Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and is designed to expose young girls to science and technology through the world of robotics. The program is segmented into two teams based on the following competitions:  

  • First Lego League (FLL)
    This competition is for girls in grades 4-8 and has 3 parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Each year, FLL releases a new challenge that focuses on a different scientific topic or question, and the teams develop and present a project related to the challenge. The teams are also tasked with building robots out of Lego bricks, which include motors, pulleys, and sensors, and will go on to complete missions during a 2-minute timed competition.
  • First Tech Challenge (FTC)
    This competition is for girls in grades 7-12. It requires teams to build, program, design (and redesign as needed) a robot that is capable of competing against other robots in a difficult, technical challenge. The robots compete in both autonomous and driver-controlled competitions. Teams are guided by adult coaches and mentors, who assist students in the development, design, marketing, branding, and project management processes. Teams must also perform community outreach, which they can win awards for as well. What’s more, participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarship opportunities.

To learn more about the All-Girls Competitive Robotics Program and support YWCA Princeton, click here. You can also check out more information about the gender gap in the global research landscape by reading this report from our other STEM client Elsevier.

And remember—in a world where science and technology continue to rapidly transform the way we live, we need to empower more young women to take an active role in that transformation.

Back to blog