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Reaching for Balance in STEM: Now and in the Future

In honor of International Women’s Day, NMSI would like to thank and acknowledge women from all different backgrounds and cultures for their contributions to society, education and STEM fields.

Marie Curie, two-time Nobel Prize winner and physicist, put it well: 
We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

So why does diversity matter? Having a diverse group of coworkers and collaborators allows room for multiple perspectives, a free flow of ideas, and ultimately, a broader understanding of the human experience. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion early in education, we can lead the way to expanding access to STEM careers and beyond – particularly for those who are typically underrepresented.

Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce.  National Girls Collaborative Project

In hopes of promoting a better balance in the STEM workforce, we are committed to increasing access to high-quality, rigorous STEM courses for all students — including women and students of color. In the last five years alone, nearly 78,000 female students have been involved in our College Readiness Program — providing them and their teachers the opportunity to engage in top-notch learning from master teachers across the country.

By working with partner schools to create a culture that encourages all students to tackle advanced coursework, students from all backgrounds will be prepared to succeed in college and beyond.  

Most importantly — we’re not alone. Organizations like Girls Who Code join us in training young women for future careers in science. Last July, Girl Scouts added 30 new STEM-related badges to encourage girls as early as kindergarten to engage in computer science, robotics and other activities. Just recently, we connected with Black Girl MATHgic creator Brittany Rhodes, who discussed her own journey as a mathematician and how she’s encouraging young black girls through a new subscription box.

Choosing to make diversity a priority is not only the path to a stronger, more robust workforce — it reinforces that all students, coworkers, educators, and collaborators are equal and important parts of a greater picture.

Every component of the organism is as much of an organism as every other part. Barbara McClintock, scientist and Nobel Prize winner

What role do you think that diversity plays into creating a strong and sustainable workforce? Join the discussion on Twitter!