Can math be the answer to socioeconomic and gender equality? The following article offers that solution.

Differences between boys and girls related to math and science

The article Math and sciences focused careers add up to good paychecks for young women #dyscalculia makes the following point. Girls who seem to thrive in the science and math field are often unfostered in their skills. Boys are generalized as merely being better and are recruited for colleges and jobs before women. Until recently, with public female role models coming out with cutting-edge discoveries, girls are given examples that success is possible.

The Ford Motor Company Fund recently sponsored a one-day event for women to share their mixture of backgrounds, learning experiences, and job stories. There was even a female race car driver present. This event was to show that gender is without barriers. Men and women are equal, and the gap is closing every day. These events are the stepping stones to an equitable future.

Current trends in STEM careers

On March 25, American Association of University Women (Birmingham Branch,) and the Cranbrook Institute of Science and Cranbrook Schools held an event for several hundred female students, their parents, and educators. The Ford Motor Company Fund was a sponsor, and several of the speakers were female employees of Ford who are in STEM-related fields.

Altogether, about 30 women spoke to the attendees. These speakers had experience in science, math, engineering, medicine, and even racing. They encouraged the students not to give up on math, even though it may seem like a male-dominated field. They explained that very often, a background in math or science leads to higher-paying jobs as a motivation to persist. The event introduced female trailblazers in various STEM fields.

Math success in college

Hillary Latcha, who completed a Bachelor of Science degree in both Biology and Computer Science from Oakland University in 2012. She was often one of two women in her science classes in college. Hillary worried that she was behind the curve because she wasn’t an 8-year-old geek who created her own web page in grade school. However, today she finds herself working for Commercial Progression in Northville developing software.

She strives to inspire young women to seek a STEM career and compete for jobs in Michigan after college. Over and over again, women mentoring younger women stressed the idea of developing problem solving skills, not giving up on math, and looking beyond stereotypes of geeky jobs or all-male office cultures. She believes the key is to stick with it.

Key Takeaways:

More awareness and events are needed to educate girls about STEM programs
Girls should be encouraged to pursue STEM related careers and higher education.
Skills and competence are most important

Is it just math?

In the article, It's just math€™: Preschoolers can do more than we might think, author John Higgins makes the following points:

As Hillary Latcha, 26, guides a group of high school girls through writing a computer program code for a video game called Pellet Girl, a game similar to Pac-Man, she warns the girls to avoid the ghosts because they will kill you. The same might be said about staying clear of the negative vibes that stop young women from exploring well-paying jobs in computer programming, chemical engineering, pharmaceutical science, research, and the like.

Audrey Zavodsky, program manager for leadership and professional development at Ford, said her message to young women is to realize that things may not always go your way but good careers in male-dominated fields exist for women. “It’s not gender-based. It’s not race-based. It’s a matter of competence. It’s matter of skill and competence,” said Zavodsky, who is the first woman to lead Panoz GT Pro Series. She began racing after her husband gave her lessons at the Bondurant High Performance Driving School as a gift for completing her doctorate degree.

Although women in STEM fields are traditionally under represented, some organizations are hoping to change that. A recent event allowed some 30 professional women with STEM backgrounds to speak to more than 400 students, parents, and educators. The speakers hoped to let the attendees know that any job is open to them–even if there only seems to be men. One point they emphasized is that having a background in math or science can lead to an immediate and measurable boost in salary, to say nothing of getting to do a job you love.

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