In the early 2000s, the National Science Foundation coined the acronym "STEM" as part of a movement to encourage and improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in U.S. schools. The term has come into common usage among educational organizations, with STEM magnet schools available in many areas, and funding for a wide variety of STEM programs and activities provided at state and national levels. The goal was to provide students with an integrated education that included a strong grounding in STEM, to better prepare them to participate in a society that is more strongly driven by these fields with each year that passes.
Some institutions have expanded STEM to include an "A" for art and design. This expansion allows us to include occupations like botanical illustrators, field guide authors, and graphic designers in our definition, making STEAM a more rounded group of categories.
Why Focus on Women?
In 2014, women held less than 25% of the jobs in STEM fields in the U.S. In other countries, the numbers are even lower, with only 13% of UK STEM jobs held by women in the same year. In surveys, girls often report feeling that science and math aren't subjects they are "supposed" to be interested in, and male-dominated fields can feel overwhelming to women who wish to work within them.
But throughout history, there have been many women who defied the traditional gender roles and sought education and employment in the fields of STEM/STEAM. This blog exists to celebrate those women, both past and present, and explore the ways that STEAM empowered them to improve their own lives and the lives of those around the world. It is our hope that girls and women who read these fascinating stories will find encouragement and inspiration for their own lives and studies.
Our S.T.E.A.M. Empowered Logo
The S.T.E.A.M. Empowered logo is made up of images of 5 women who are representative of the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Over time, we'll complete detailed blog posts about each of these representative women. In the meantime, a Google search for each name will give you plenty of resources for your own research.
SCIENCE: Maria Mitchell, Astronomer
TECHNOLOGY: Admiral Grace Hopper, Computer Programmer
ENGINEERING: Emily Warren Roebling, Brooklyn Bridge Engineer
ART & DESIGN: Maria Sybilla Merian, Lepidopterist and Illustrator
MATHEMATICS: Ada Lovelace, Mathemetician