I like STEM subjects: and that’s okay. I’m a woman.

Today is International Women’s Day – so firstly Happy International Women’s Day! Secondly, I’ve been super busy with conducting interviews, being on the radio and participating in the Pop Up Newsroom with other universities across the world. You can check out the work here. You can read the hashtags on Twitter too – #PopUpNewsUK and #PopUpNews. There’s also things on the #IWD2016 hashtag!

But, the purpose of the blog is to shed light in women in STEM subjects. Now you may be thinking what does STEM mean? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Now you may be thinking – why do YOU care? 

Well…firstly because I’ve interviewed two amazing people who are real advocates for young women in the STEM industry. I interviewed a careers staff member from Think Physics and the lead of Girls and Gadgets!

But, I actually like STEM subjects – particularly physics and astronomy. I enjoyed Physics at school and my results showed that. I wasn’t good at maths, so that was out of the question. I wanted to pursue physics at A Level but felt pressure against it, simply because of being a woman. I felt pushed away from it – partly because of confidence, but because of stereotypes.

Women can’t like STEM subjects – (we can, of course). That was the overbearing message I got from my male peers.

But just because I like STEM subjects does not make me any less of a female. There are many leading females in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Think of Marie Curie as one example – there are many women doing revolutionary things – everyday in the STEM industry.

There’s a lot of stereotypes around women in this sector of work, unfortunately it may be because of the male dominance in the sector. It should not put women off – but I think it does.

However, there are other reasons – not having enough information, a lack of encouragement from peers and family members. There are so many factors, but women can go into STEM.

I let the pressure push me down – it made me think I wasn’t smart enough. I enjoyed computing too, especially the technical and coding side. So much so, that I’m now teaching myself how to code! (Go me!). I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should be encouraging our daughters, cousins, nieces, sisters – every female family member to pursue what they want irrespective of external pressures.

It’s been proven time and time again. There are influential people about there. There’s been some initiatives on Twitter recently too – #looklikeanengineer, #stemgirls and #womenintech to name a few! I’m proud of that, but we need to make it more widely known.

The message I want to get across is listen to yourself. Listen to others who are influential in the field you are interested in. If you want to do it – you can and will. Don’t be put off. I wish I hadn’t of listened.

Throughout my life, I’ve wanted to do astronomy and physics, speech and language therapy, neuroscience, medicine and more and I didn’t go for it. Although, I’m studying a creative degree now, it still doesn’t stop me being interested in the STEM industry.

We need young women to feel confident and to explore STEM as a possible industry. If it’s not for them then that’s fine, but we need to show that the door is wide open should they want to go through it!

I want young women sitting in education to be aware that they can do it. I don’t want them to fall at the same hurdle.

Just because I’m a girl does not mean that I can’t like science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Go for it.

What do you think? Are you studying a STEM subject at university or are you in a career in the STEM industry? If you are, please get in touch in the comments below or on my social media accounts!


 

YPE

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