Defying expectations. Talking women, taking STEM
March 8, 2023

Defying expectations. Talking women, taking STEM

Valentine’s Day is a day when we are surrounded by celebrations of love from everywhere and are encouraged to articulate our feelings. This was also the case this time, although this year we spent Valentine’s evening expressing slightly different feelings. The Moldovan media outlet Diez had invited three women to share their feelings about being a woman in male-dominated sectors. 

Joanna Bagadzińska, a Young European Ambassador from the EU chapter is currently doing research in Moldova and Kazakhstan for her PhD in political science, Ana-Maria Brînza is a product manager in the IT sector, co-founder of the League of Engineering Students, and a Tech Woman Ambassador 2020-2021, and Daniela Plămădeal, Young European Ambassador from the Moldovan chapter, is studying business and administration at the Centre for Excellence in Economics and Finance and is a junior project manager.

Fancy hearing how these factors have influenced particular stories of women in STEM? Check it out: [LINK]

What is all the fuss about?

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Those are the four disciplines behind the acronym STEM. Although some studies suggest that gender differences in these fields are virtually invisible, the figures confirm that women are still underrepresented there. While some would say that it may simply be that women are not cut out for it, science explains the variables behind this phenomenon.

Are women worse at maths?

The environment in which girls and boys are socialised influences their career path choices. The fact that, in the traditional model, women are socialised as mothers-to-be, and empathy and social skills are considered their key attributes, while men are considered good at maths and science, and more focused on financial gain and status, contributes to the gender gap in STEM.

According to the research conducted by Leslie M. Besecke and Anne H. Reilly, there are three factors that play a crucial role in the career choices of women in STEM: parental and family influence, personality variables, role model influence and enriching experiences.

Encourage but do not discourage

Not only can the family be supportive through encouragement, but sometimes an important contribution is not to discourage girls from career paths stereotyped as masculine and unattractive for women. Women who choose science or science careers most often have high academic and social self-esteem and a high need for achievement.

However, a factor that each of us can influence is the environmental context. To anticipate gender inequality in STEM, it is essential to show diverse role models. That said, it is also crucial to have narratives that are not based on gender stereotypes.

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