Okay. Let’s see if I remember where I was going with this.
I think part of the reason that women- or really people in general- don’t go into STEM fields is because they have no idea what they involve. People know what teachers do, they meet teachers growing up. People meet doctors and nurses and cops. They see actors and actresses and lawyers and politicians on TV. They know something about these professions so they decide to pursue them, taking classes and doing research into what is required to do these things. Other than the medical professions, however, none of these are STEM fields. For the most part, if you look up STEM fields you get articles on coding and all the mental images and stereotypes that go along with computer people. Not that those are necessarily correct, but it’s still the main thing that people associate with STEM fields. And, shockingly enough, not everyone wants to code. Computers HATE me. Mine bit me yesterday. Left a bruise and everything. (Mostly That’s because I’m a klutz, but still). I have no interest in computers. If I hadn’t had high school science teachers that were former engineers that would often tell the class about their former jobs as they explained not only what the scientific principals they were required to teach were but what they were used for, I would likely never have considered studying chemical engineering. I was lucky. I had exposure to STEM fields that did not revolve around computers (and exposure to computer things as my dad is a software engineer and is all about coding). I knew that there were other options and found the one that most interested me. But I worry that a lot of people don’t even think about pursuing a STEM field because they don’t have an interest in computers or software or coding and they think that is all there is to STEM. And that is a problem, not just for women (who are, I suppose, often less encouraged to be interested in computers than men are) but for everyone.
And I think that is what I was going for earlier.