Empowering Women of Color in STEM: “Strategies to Increase Representation and Overcome Barriers”
The number of women in the STEM profession is small compared to the overall populous. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF) data from 2019, women constituted about 15.7% of employed engineers in the United States. The numbers are relatively low for women of color. Black women represented only about 2.4% of employed engineers in the United States. Asian, Hispanic and Black women are underrepresented in the STEM profession.
How do we increase the number of women in STEM? To address the barriers faced by women of color in STEM careers, several strategies can be implemented. First, it is crucial to encourage early engagement by promoting STEM education in underserved communities, providing girls of color with opportunities to participate in STEM programs, hands-on activities, and mentorship initiatives.
Second, establishing mentorship programs connecting women of color in STEM careers with aspiring students can offer guidance, inspiration, and a sense of belonging. Increasing representation is also vital, involving efforts to diversify hiring practices and create inclusive environments that value and promote diversity. Providing scholarships, grants, and financial support targeted at women of color pursuing STEM education can help overcome financial barriers. Additionally, addressing biases and stereotypes by raising awareness and providing training can contribute to creating inclusive and unbiased learning and working environments.