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8/6/2014
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Susan Nunziata
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12 STEM Resources For Young Women

Trying to fuel a young woman's interest in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? These 12 organizations actively help students pursue STEM-related careers.
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(Image: Argonne National Laboratory)
(Image: Argonne National Laboratory)

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, eBay, and others recently released diversity reports, and the revelations weren't exactly shocking: The tech industry is dominated by white males. These reports have spurred discussions and recriminations.

Adding fuel to the fire is the issue of pay inequality for women and men working in IT. According to the InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey, the median total compensation for a female IT staffer is $81,000. For male counterparts it's $94,000, a difference of $13,000. That's a significant gap. And it's echoed in compensation for managers, with median total compensation for men at $122,000, versus $110,000 for women.

Even so, according to a 2011 report from the US Department of Commerce, women with STEM jobs earned 33% more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs -- considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. That means the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.

Other findings from the report were grim:

  • Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the US economy, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.
  • Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.
  • Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation. They are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

As educators, government officials, technology executives, and women's groups discuss these issues, a growing number of grassroots organizations are looking to encourage young women to pursue STEM so they can be part of the next generation of tech workers. Here we highlight 12 of these organizations. If you're a tech executive looking to do something about the gender gap, one of these groups could present an opportunity to volunteer your time to help educate and mentor young women and girls. If you'd like to encourage your own daughter to explore STEM opportunities, these organizations can help.

Let us know what you think. Are these organizations on the right track? Are there other groups you wish we'd included? What are your ideas for how to bridge the technology gender gap?

Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio

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Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 5:21:08 PM
Re: Are you a mentor?
@Thomas: Mentoring your own kids definitely counts, thanks for sharing that. One of the challenges, according to some edicuators, is helping girls and young women understand how much creativity plays a role in STEM careers. As you rightly note, a lot of that is socialized in that we tend to think of things as right-brain and left-brain activities. 

Can you tell us more about TechShop in case others might want to explore for their kids?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2014 | 4:48:51 PM
Re: Are you a mentor?
Mentoring of a sort...As the father of two daughters, encouraging them to take an interest in STEM learning doesn't always work. They often are deterred by preconceptions. It appears that just throwing them into tech-oriented projects is the way to go. My fourteen-year-old enjoys drawing but was disinterested in learning Adobe Illustrator, until I enrolled her in a summer camp at TechShop. She had to learn Illustrator to make patterns for the laser cutter. It changed her outlook on computer drawing software.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2014 | 2:56:50 PM
Re: Related story
@zaious glad you liked the Judo article. I thought Joan Williams had good advice for men and women.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 2:53:11 PM
Are you a mentor?
If you're involved in any mentoring programs to encourage kids to pursue STEM careers -- or help folks already in the field to advance their careers -- we'd love to hear about your experiences. Please share with us in the comments here.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 2:51:21 PM
Re: Related story
@Zaious: Hear hear! There is no logical reason for any one group to have less success or fewer opportunities than any other group. I do hope we'll see a day when true meritocracy is achieved.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 2:49:54 PM
Re: Related story
@Laurianne: Yep, the Gender Judo holds lessons for many people, not just in IT and not just women. I do hope that some of our community members will be inspired by these groups to take an active roel in mentoring girls and young women for STEM careers.

 
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2014 | 2:38:18 PM
Re: Related story
@Laurianne: The judo link was a good one. I hope someday everyone (male/female) will have the equal in everything. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2014 | 1:11:54 PM
Related story
Important for women in STEM to get out there and show young women they can do it, too. See our related story: Gender Judo on salary negotiation tactics for women.
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