Yogi Berra, paraphrasing Niels Bohr, said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” In celebration of Math Awareness Month, Math Aware and the American Mathematical Society are bringing attention to the study of mathematics. This year’s theme is The Future of Prediction, which will focus on exploring how mathematics and statistics contribute to the future.
More than ever before, girls are studying science and math. However, the same pattern has not transitioned to the workforce. According to CNN, women in STEM fields saw little to no employment growth between 2000 and 2014. Additionally, the number of women in computing and mathematics occupations has not achieved the same growth as women in science and engineering occupations. From 1990 to 2013, the percentage of women in computer and mathematical occupations fell from 35 percent to 26 percent. This has led to an increased lack of female representation in mathematics, especially among minorities.
The percentage of women in science and engineering steadily increased from 1990 to 2013, however, the percentage of women in computer and mathematical occupations decreased 11 percent over the same period.
Research shows that girls show the same amount of interest in math and science as boys do up until middle school, at which point girls begin to lose interest. CNN reached out to women entrepreneurs and executives in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to gain their perspectives on the lack of girls pursuing STEM careers. Most of the women stressed the importance of introducing girls to STEM early by connecting them with mentors in the field and providing technical workshops that will help them realize their potential in STEM careers.
This insight, however, is not only being recognized by women. With society’s pressure to close the gender gap in STEM occupations, an increased number of initiatives have been created to entice and harness interest in science and math among girls. These initiatives include a variety of programs, workshops and camps that connect young girls with women in the STEM field to engage in hands-on activities.
Throughout his many philanthropic endeavors, Misha Malyshev, CEO of Teza Technologies, has displayed his passion for creating educational opportunities for women and minorities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. He understands the importance of introducing these subject areas to girls at a young age in the hopes that they will grow into leaders in their industry. Each year, Misha sponsors events such as Girls Do Hack and Civic Hack Day that teach girls about STEM careers. It is these programs and similar ones that open doors, create learning opportunities and motivate groups of young girls to discover their passion, leading to a strong foundation of women mathematicians, scientists and engineers in the future.