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Research Reveals How Girls Are Challenged When Pursuing STEM Careers

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Research Reveals How Girls Are Challenged When Pursuing STEM Careers

The annual Geek Girl Reality survey has published its findings for 2016. Our report contains the thoughts, view and perspectives of young women studying STEM topics at college and universities worldwide.

PR Newswire

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Geeky Girl Reality is a longitudinal, independent research project exploring how women's experiences influence their interest in science and technology, engineering and math otherwise known as STEM. The project aims to add valuable insights into questions such as: Why aren't more women entering and remaining in STEM? and What is causing this gender gap?

The recently published results in 2016 research project were collected from 178 young women between the ages of 15-43 from 16 countries, all of whom are currently studying a STEM topic at university and preparing for a career in STEM. Each individual gave their perspective on the potential reasoning for the lack of females within the STEM industry. The final research report summarises the challenges that young women face in STEM and their opinions on how gender imbalance issues should be tackled in the workplace.

A 2016 LinkedIn survey of professionals in STEM careers found that only 23% of women were professionals in the STEM sector, whilst a shocking 27% of those felt the need to leave their job roles within 12 months.

This year, the full 2016 Geeky Girl Reality report has been published with the aim of giving a clearer vision of the experiences women face when starting out in the STEM industry and the challenges faced whilst trying to get work in the field.

The Geeky Girl Reality 2016 female participants answered 15 open-ended questions to provide a first-hand perspective of their experiences within stereotypically 'male' academia and industry. One participant, a 23 year-old from South Africa discussed how she had repeatedly been singled out due to her gender: "I have been one of only a few women in large engineering classes many times. Once I had a professor refer to me as 'the lady' whenever he referred to my participation in the class."

Four main themes were found from the survey results. The themes represent what women need in order to progress and advance in their STEM path: Female role models; Increased confidence; Gender-free learning environments; and Healthy work-life balance

A full copy of the Geeky Girl Reality 2016 report on the user needs of young women studying STEM is free and available for download at https://reports.geekyreality.com/2016

"The report is a sharp reminder of the magnitude of the lag for girls in STEM disciplines and sends a powerful message for concerted and concerned action" said Shreeja Nambiar, who leads community outreach and advises the Geeky Girl Reality project in India and South Asia. "The report also carries words from the hearts of girls about their innermost perceptions" Nambiar said. "Being an engineer myself, I know the joys of being in the STEM space. I can see the difference I can make when I share my own story and how I scripted my path. This is an extremely rewarding experience. Being professionally equipped to deal with the challenges that STEM poses, I not only motivate girls to take core science subjects in high school, I am part of their journey, I am a Go-To person for them and try to ease their path. And then see them soaring in the career paths they finally land in, many times this triggers a chain reaction and they become mentors in their high school. This compounded impact is truly satisfying."

Creating opportunities for women in STEM
The insights from the survey depicted an obvious need for change when it came to the attitudes and opportunities for women in STEM, the founders of the project came up with idea of creating an online community in which women from across the globe can share their own opinions and ideas on how these issues can be tackled.

In terms of demographics, 58% of women who chose to participate in the survey were between the ages of 18-21; giving the impression that the younger generations may feel they are at a greater disadvantage. This specific age group are typically about to embark on studying a degree in STEM or are currently in further study. Many are on the lookout for practical work experience, internships, scholarships, mentor programmes and summer jobs in STEM fields and industries.

Taking this knowledge onboard, the organisation set up a STEM Gigs website; a specific platform for younger women to browse suitable opportunities to kickstart their careers. A dedicated team work hard to find suitable opportunities online which are then vetted, aggregated and published on the Geeky Girl Reality website.

The long-term goals
The goal of the Geeky Girl Reality project is to positively influence the way women in STEM view themselves. The overall aim of the website is to showcase global opportunities for women hoping to make a career in STEM and to offer camaraderie and support to fulfil their passions. Through dedicated research, the ambition is to raise awareness and gain momentum with organisations and corporate brands to secure funds, which will be invested in enhancing website technology and building a mobile friendly app.

"We're having great conversations with corporate partners looking to increase applicants to management consulting graduate recruitment schemes," said Paul Sauvage, who leads corporate partnerships and sponsorships for Geeky Reality Foundation. "We know our community of students, from our survey, what they tell us, we know especially that young women who have studied physics, maths, computer science, or engineering have reasoning and analytical skills that management consulting firms are keen to nurture," Sauvage said "And we're happy to play an active part in guiding that young woman's career journey."

The 2017 analysis and 2018 survey are underway
Due to the overwhelming response to the 2016 survey, the Geeky Girl Reality project is currently working on a report for 2017 that gathered feedback from female students studying during the 2017 academic school year. We are still collecting data for our 2018 survey.

Each report requires detailed qualitative analysis to ensure that quotes selected and themes described reflect the needs of young women currently studying STEM topics. The 2017 report is expected to be published by autumn 2018 and can be found at https://www.geekyreality.com/our-research.

About Geeky Reality Foundation

"Geeky Girl Reality" began as a longitudinal survey study to explore young women's experiences in relation to STEM and preparing for STEM careers

The Geeky Reality Foundation is benefit corporation that was founded with a social mission to extend the work of the Geeky Girl Reality project. The Geeky Girl Reality brand has now developed into a resource hub for networking, gigs and opportunities, connecting with role models and sharing experiences. Geeky Reality Foundation manages the advertising and revenue that supports the Geeky Girl Reality project; but is a non-profit organisation in which donations are not accepted

The research is sponsored by Ad Hoc Global LTD, a user research and UX consultancy firm and conducted by a team of user researchers who have specialist backgrounds in social science and human factors research.

 

SOURCE Geek Girl Reality

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