Guest Post By Anushka Narsani – VCHS Robotics and DECA
As members of our school’s robotics team, we understand the scarcity of women in STEM. Four years ago, women made up less than 10% of our 40 person robotics team, but beyond just our team, we saw huge gender gaps in various STEM clubs and classes at our school as a whole. Seeing this huge inequality encouraged us to make a huge effort to increase the number of women on our team and make STEM seem more approachable and welcome to them. After employing various recruitment methods and even hosting a Women in STEM conference, we tripled the amount of young women on our robotics team. While we did make small strides towards bridging the gender gap on our robotics team, we knew that inequalities were still present beyond just our school.
In an effort to see the bigger picture when it comes to gender gaps in STEM fields, we researched the gender distribution in a variety of STEM occupations. The results were shocking to us; although women make up 50% of the world’s population, they made up less than 30% of STEM occupations with the distribution even more skewed in specific fields. After getting a better understanding of the inequalities present, we decided that we wanted to spread our impact beyond just our robotics team and into our school and community. So, we chose to center our campaign around the theme “Bridge the Gap”. We chose this title to convey the message that if we work together to build up, we can bridge the gender gap and help achieve STEM equality.
We reached out to a local library and held a week-long all girls STEM camp where we taught girls about biology, engineering, math, and robotics through fun experiments and activities.