Week 3 Reflection
Jenny Han
7

According to the articles that I read, the reasons for lack of diversity in STEM are: unwelcoming climates for women and minorities in the workplace, existing stereotypes that discourage underrepresented populations to participate in specific fields, and the inaccurate metaphor of the “pipeline.” The first reason addresses why women leave STEM-related jobs at alarming rates because of the atmospheres created in their workplaces. With male-dominant cultures, condescending supervisors and co-workers, and unequal access to training, education, and advancement opportunities for women, it is reasonable that women are lacking in STEM. To combat this, the article suggested the implementation of metrics to measure an organization’s success in supporting and encouraging women in STEM and creating top-down policies to ban discrimination and inequality. The second reason discusses the prevalent masculine culture in STEM that discourages women in specific STEM fields to perform well or even participate in at all. By changing the current stereotypes of what a STEM individual should look like or be, STEM would be more inclusive of all populations instead of being exclusive to one. Lastly, the metaphor of the STEM pipeline itself is inadequate to describe the reality of inequality. Instead, it is a way for people to discuss a lack of diversity without actually acknowledging the actual issues at hand. Addressing this faulty metaphor, changing the way that lack of diversity in STEM is viewed would raise awareness for seeing the current inequalities and finding more practical solutions to them.

I mostly agree with all of the articles’ arguments in that the culture and stereotypes must be changed to be more inclusive of all populations instead of alienating some. However, the methods to accomplish such large-scale goals were expectedly unclear, as these problems take decades, maybe even centuries, to change. I had not viewed the STEM pipeline metaphor as inaccurate before, but the third article that I read pointed out the fact that it does not paint the whole picture of why some populations are underrepresented in STEM, which I appreciated.

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