NEXT GENERATION CAREERS: WHY THEY CHOOSE TECH
Perhaps it’s no surprise that men and women choose to major in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields for different reasons. A study released this month (September 2011) called “STEM Perceptions: Students and Parents Study” by Harris Interactive for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and Microsoft, has some interesting finding on the differences.
The women’s top reason for choosing a STEM major was intellectual stimulation, while men chose those fields for “a good salary out of school.” A huge gender gap was revealed in what led them to their interest. For 68% of the women in the study it was a particular high school class or teacher that they credited with turning them on to the subject. That was true for only 5% of the men. Their experience with related games, toys, books or clubs was a significant factor for 51% of the men but only 35% of the women.
These findings could influence the teaching of the different genders and suggest the importance of high school teaching to attracting more women to the STEM fields. A combination of intellectual stimulation, role models and a welcoming culture would be likely to attract and retain more women.
It is important that those role models and inspirational teachers be men as well as women. How do we make men more comfortable with “sponsoring” women in their field?
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com