5 Reasons Why Young Girls Should Pursue Careers in STEM fields
Have you ever wanted to pursue a career in a STEM field, but thought you weren’t good enough?
Sahana Srinivasan would most likely tell you to squash those fears and encourage you to pursue your passions. Born in Houston, Texas and with a thirst for the performing arts, Sahana has many talents like singing, acting, playing piano as well as drawing and writing. She’s been in a couple of hit movies and shorts like Space Warriors, Tied and Spin Cycle and is now the host of a Netflix show called Brainchild. The show explores the science behind different phenomena like social media, germs, space, dreams and even superheroes. Each episode features multiple experiments and lots of facts about each subject so you’re not only learning a lot, but also developing an interest to learn more about it. Even though Srinivasan is a performer, she realizes how young girls often hold themselves back from pursuing careers that are male-dominated, particularly STEM fields. She sat down with INBETWEEN to share five reasons why she thinks young girls should pursue careers in STEM fields.
Getting Rid of the Stereotype
It’s not uncommon for women to feel as though they shouldn’t be in STEM fields because they don’t belong there. In fact, women not only strive in these fields but also make breakthroughs. “Now it’s less obvious than it used to be. Instead of outright stating that women can’t become scientists —you’ll hear mathematicians or scientists in hypothetical scenarios referred to as he instead of she” says Srinivasan. “Images you see in the media of scientists, doctors, and engineers are often represented by male figures. We need to change the misconception and show that women are just as capable, passionate, and intelligent when it comes to math, science and engineering.”
Busting the myth
There’s also a misconception that people who are more creative can’t enter STEM fields or that being creative hinders the ability to understand science, engineering or math. “There’s also the myth that possessing creativity and artfulness won’t help you get into STEM fields,” says Srinivasan. “Fields like computer science and coding rely heavily on your creative talents. The recent branch of STEM, STEAM, in which the A stands for “art,” emphasizes the importance of art and creativity in involvement with math and science. STEAM-related careers include an architect, graphic designer, sound engineer, and much more.”
Closing the Gap
Through hard work and determination, you can always strive in any career, and therefore women need to realize their worth and go for careers in STEM. “Careers in STEM fields offer financial stability and security,” says Srinivasan. But only 20 per cent of STEM fields consist of women. If we want to try to close the wage gap, it’s important for women to pursue STEM-related education in order to land higher-paying jobs.”
Break the Cycle
The cycle of there not being any role models for girls to look up to in these fields (and if there are, they are rarely celebrated) which leads to girls not pursuing careers in STEM, is a vicious one. “Girls hesitate to pursue careers in STEM because those fields are so male-dominated. This is a cycle that needs to be broken,” states Srinivasan. “That isn’t to say there aren’t any female role models in tech and science. Women such as Marie Curie, Rachel Carson, and Kalpana Chawla played huge roles, but history (often recorded by men,) has ignored or downplayed the contributions of women when it comes to science. If we want to be heard, we need to make a sound by taking an active role in those fields.”
Answering the Big Questions
Thanks to science and technology, our world is evolving at an unfettered speed! The best way to keep up with it? Get directly involved! “It’s so exciting and absolutely mind-blowing to consider the countless discoveries that haven’t been made yet,” says Srinivasan. “Involving yourself in science could mean inventing unique technology, discovering something new and awesome about our planet or the universe (hello, any aliens out there?) or saving peoples’ lives. So, what are we waiting for? Us women need to go out there and find the answers to all of life’s big questions!”