NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey presented a state-resolution urging more women to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers on Tuesday. This comes during Women’s History Month, which has been celebrated in March since 1987.
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell joined Lt. Gov. Ramsey in the State Senate Chamber to recognize and commend the hard working women of Tennessee who work and study in STEM fields. The event, sponsored by Million Women Mentors and over a dozen Tennessee businesses and organizations, was the first of its kind to honor both women in STEM and Women’s History Month with a State Resolution.
“Despite the tremendous gains that girls and women have made in education and the workforce during the past 50 years, progress has been uneven and certain scientific and engineering fields remain overwhelmingly male,” said Sheila Boyington, Senior Advisor for Million Women Mentors. “Women are about 50% of the national workforce but they are only 24% of the STEM workforce. It is so important that we make STEM education a top priority for Tennessee to address the STEM workforce shortage, and to help close the gap between women and men in these high paying fields,” said Boyington.
The U.S. is facing an increasing shortage in the STEM workforce. Employment in STEM is expected to grow 17 % by 2018, while the number of college graduates in STEM fields continues to decline. In 2009, just 18 % of bachelor’s degrees awarded were in STEM fields, down 24 % from two decades ago, particularly for women.
Today, women typically make 77 cents to a dollar for men for most careers, but for STEM careers the wage disparity is only 92 cents to a dollar. Therefore, besides the obvious reasons why women should major in STEM, the economic implications are profound.
The nationally launched Million Women Mentors® effort is growing in Tennessee to use mentoring as an avenue to engage women and girls in STEM careers. The goal of the movement is to garner one million mentors in STEM professions over the next several years, to collectively increase the interest and confidence of girls and women in these academic areas. Approximately 30 states are commitment to this effort. Each mentor will commit to a minimum of 20 hours and the initiative has five suggested mentor pathways with a robust portal that will capture and amplify the numbers who are working on this effort.
About Million Women Mentors®: Launched on January 8th ,2014, MWM is the collective action of over national partners and corporate sponsors designed to increase the number of girls and women within the high school to work age continuum that persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers. For more information on MWM please visit www.MillionWomenMentors.org.
About STEMconnector®: STEMconnector®is a consortium of over 110 companies, associations, academic institutions and government entities concerned with STEM education and the future of human capital. STEMconnector® focuses on the STEM workforce and jobs, with a particular emphasis on diversity and women. Our work spans the entire pipeline (K-J—Kindergarten to Jobs) and how STEM education experiences translate into careers. For more information, visit STEMconnector.org