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Help Wanted: Young Women Needed to Design the Future

Girl Day encourages young ladies to learn more about STEM Fields. (@ProfImages/Flickr)
Girl Day encourages young ladies to learn more about STEM Fields. (@ProfImages/Flickr)
February 25, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Young women in Ohio and around the world are being encouraged today to help design the future.

It's Girl Day, an annual event urging young females to study the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also called STEM.

In her more than 25 years of experience in engineering and automation, Peggie Koon explains the field needs the diverse perspective woman can offer.

"We're just wired differently and so a lot of innovative ideas are just sitting there waiting to be captured from young women who have potential," she states.

According to the Department of Labor, there were more than 8 million jobs in all STEM fields in 2014, with the average wage of over $85,000 annually. Yet data shows, women hold just a quarter of STEM jobs in the U.S.

Girl Day is part of National Engineering Week, with events around Ohio focused on breaking down stereotypes and providing support for young people interested in entering the engineering field.

Koon maintains the gender gap in STEM fields is linked to the traditional way that girls are raised to be caretakers, while boys are more challenged to pursue analytical paths.

"Girls appear to have less encouragement and are not prone to be pushed towards the area even when they have the mental capability and the knowledge and the desire to do so," she states.

Educators, industry and the government all have a role to play in attracting more girls into STEM learning and careers, says Koon. And she adds parents should engage their daughters and be advocates.

"They also have a responsibility to work with the school system to ensure that girls are included in math and science,” she stresses.

STEM professionals can get involved in Girl Day by inviting young women to shadow them at work, mentoring a group of female students or speaking at a local school about engineering.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH