WASHINGTON—In an effort to expand women’s presence in traditionally male-dominated fields, the STEM Education Coalition launched a new initiative Tuesday dedicated to inspiring young girls to pursue math and science educations so they could one day earn less than men in academic or private-sector professions.
“If America intends to maintain its status as an international research leader, we must do more to encourage young women to enter careers in engineering and technology where they’ll be paid, on average, $4,000 less than their male peers for doing the same work,” said program director Elizabeth Grant, stressing that the strategy would include inspirational K-12 classroom visits by female scientists, televised ad campaigns, and mentorship opportunities targeted at showing young girls that they too could attain a position in which they have fewer opportunities for professional advancement relative to men and are regarded as less competent by their superiors. “Today’s girls have the potential to become the physicists and chemists of tomorrow, powerlessly watching as their male counterparts are promoted over them, their intellects are ignored, and their research is underrepresented in scientific journals. Our mission is to let every young woman know that such a future isn’t a fantasy; it’s a reality they can most certainly achieve.”
Grant admitted, however, that such opportunities depended upon the slim chance that these girls even managed to be hired from a predominantly male applicant pool in the first place.