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Women in technology support science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Here’s a look at labor statistics along with economic benefits of women in tech.
Women are underrepresented in a number of professions in the United States and throughout the world. One of the most important professions is engineering. You may already be aware of the great need for engineers of all kinds to help solve the problems of our modern world. Are you also aware that engineering is a profession with many benefits for women?
The Future Depends on STEM
Government officials and elementary school educators agree that the future depends on the work done by professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). However, subjects in these fields are often avoided by girls in school and women in college.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that women made up 47 percent of all US residents over 16 years of age who were employed in 2011, and this figure is increasing each year.
Now that women comprise about half of the US workforce, the need for them to participate in the STEM professions becomes increasingly evident. Unlike professions in finance, education, health and hospitality where women comprise more than fifty percent of the workforce, the BLS puts participation by women in the combined category of Architects and Engineers at just under fourteen (13.6) percent. In some areas of engineering, such as agricultural, bio-medical, and petroleum engineering participation by women is not statistically significant.
There are two reasons why more women are needed in engineering: Demand for women in engineering professions is increasing, and there is a need to address the gender imbalance across all engineering fields.
A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in March of 2012 looked at the number of US patents held by women. It found that women with degrees in electrical engineering held an average of 0.28 patents; in mechanical engineering, 0.18 patents; and in the life sciences, 0.06 patents. The authors noted the reason for such low figures was the under-representation of women in the most patent-intensive jobs; those involving design and development in electrical and mechanical engineering.
When looking at the number of patents held by women in relation to the nation’s economy, the researchers concluded that eliminating the female shortfall among patent holders would increase the nation’s GDP by 2.7 percent per capita.
Jobs in the engineering fields can be found in most parts of the US and in other countries. Professions in engineering will benefit women as they are some of the best-paying and most secure jobs in this current economy.
Leaning In and Aiming Higher
Business professionals such as Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, advise women to “lean in” rather than staying back in the shadows when it comes time to take on greater responsibility and seek advancement in the corporate world. Of course, this advice applies to all professions. Women need to overcome the stereotype that technology is a masculine field, especially with the current economy, and help us create a better future.