So educational important people (that’s a highly technical term right there) came up with this acronym of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics a decade ago in an effort to prepare the babies of today for careers in these fields tomorrow because the need is expected to be great. Healthcare doesn’t count for unexplained reasons in the adacemic journal I read on the topic, but I assume it is because it combines all of these fields and so in a way surpasses them?
Quite a few women I know push the next generation of women towards these careers while blaming men for writing them off as reasons why they themselves didn’t persue these fields. Can I be perfectly honest here? There were very few times in my childhood where I felt as though I could not do something simply because I was a woman. My father encouraged me to consider becoming a radiation oncologist. My mother encouraged me to become a lawyer. My math and science teachers at my urban private elementary school (k-7) were women, and they were more concerned with my being the only girl on the boys travel soccer team (gasp!) than they were with my grades. When I went to public junior high and high school I loved my science classes (I’m looking at you chemistry) but hated my math class. My high school math classes were always taught by lonely, unkept women who did not explain things well.
But guess what? The teachers I had, whether good or bad, were never going to turn me into a scientist because my childhood dream was to write a best selling novel, go on Oprah & tell her Jesus loved her. Either that or work for a major literary magazine writing novels and then professionally reviewing other novels. (The closest example now adays to what I wanted to do when I was 12 is the Cat character from Supergirl). I was never really a STEM kind of student.
My opinion is that while parents and educators have an influence on the next generation, I don’t think it’s fair to blame men for us women not running to STEM subjects. Maybe we could say that in the 1950’s, but not anytime in the 2000’s. Women are currently more educated than men. I mean while I’m never going to be Oprah or Rupert Murdoch, I’ve worked in media. I published a novel, worked for a local Latino community health center, for an international VOD company owned by the richest man in the world, a regional radio station in the 11th largest market in the country, and later when my kids are teenagers maybe I’ll work for PBS, so I’m satisfied with my career choices though they are not STEM related.
What about you? Did you feel limited when it came to career choices? Did you like STEM subjects in school?