Women’s History Month: Amplifying the Voices of Young Women in STEM


Women’s History Month: Amplifying the Voices of Young Women in STEM

Nira Irby, Workforce Development Specialist, Partners for Education & Business, Inc.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we embark on a journey to amplify the voices of young women in STEM. Throughout history, women have encountered numerous hurdles in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, facing discrimination and unequal opportunities for advancement. Despite these challenges, trailblazing figures such as Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace have paved the way for future generations. Today, we witness women in STEM breaking new ground, with visionaries like Dr. Mae Jemison and Dr. Jennifer Doudna leading the charge.

The future of STEM shines brightly, with a growing commitment to effect change happening in our communities every day. In our own backyard, the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) High School is tirelessly working to bridge the gender gap and expand opportunities for young women in STEM. With only approximately 12.5% of young women engaged in these fields, ITC is dedicated to amplifying the student voice to drive change and foster growth within its program.

As we focus on the future, we had the privilege to sit down with former and current young women of ITC to listen to their experiences and aspirations in STEM.

Here are some of their insights about women in STEM:

Q: Why are you interested in learning and exploring STEM as a career opportunity?

Madison W.: “All the opportunities and how much you can do by knowing and understanding STEM. Since things have become more expensive the ability to get a better career that pays more is ideal and appealing.”

Samira A.: “Because it is not just one thing, it is a group of things coming together to build a community network.”

Q:  When you think about women in the STEM field (past or currently relevant), who comes to mind? If no one, why do you think people can name more men than women?

Kiamesha C: “I can really only think of myself, unfortunately majority of my professors, bosses, teachers, and coworkers were male and none of the women made a permanent mark on me.”

Leigh S: “I believe that for a while and still today it discouraged/frowned upon for women to join the field for various reasons. Only most recently has there been people trying to encourage more women to go into the field.”

Q: As you are early in or exploring STEM careers, do you feel you have to work harder than young men in the field?

Elif C: “You must be able to balance it. You cannot be bad; you do not want to look bad at what you are doing so you overachieve BUT then you are seen as the smart girl, and you cannot ever be just a person doing this because you want to.”

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to attract more young women/women into the STEM field? What more can be done?

Kiamesha C: “No, I don’t think enough is being done to attract women in this career field. For future female STEM inquires I feel like numbers should be involved. I was always told this would be a good career for me because of my gender and skin color. I feel more advocacy for higher pay rates can be addressed immediately to start, if me being a woman in STEM is “valuable” then that would be the best way to show it.”

Q: Why do think there is a focus on attaining more young women into the STEM/STEAM field?

Madison W: “More diverse perspectives and opinions, a lot of stuff in today’s world is not made for women, rather designed after what men want/need.”

Q: What advice would you share with future you or the young women who will come behind you into this field?

Leigh S: “Do not allow someone to tell you your worth or how important your voice is. Everyone has a voice that should be heard regardless of your background, it is important for society to have more perspectives.”

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us continue to champion the voices of young women in STEM and foster an environment that truly embraces diversity and equality. Together, we can work towards creating more inclusive opportunities and resources for the trailblazers of tomorrow.

To learn more about Partners for Education & Business, Inc. and the work they do to educate the community about STEM career pathways, visit their page.