As the world evolves, STEM subjects continue to be an important part of ushering the world into the new age. This being the case, STEM education can be seen as the breeding ground for future innovators. Unfortunately, the field of STEM, both in terms of professionals and students, has historically had a diversity problem.
However, though the historical lack of diversity in STEM is disheartening, the field is beginning to change. Namely, in the realm of education and initiatives to promote diversity in these technical fields. Understanding the benefits of diversity in STEM can give one a deeper understanding of how diversity can impact the world around us.
Here is the importance of diversity in STEM education.
Diversity Results in Innovation
For some, the lack of diversity in STEM may not seem like a huge issue. However, this is actually far from the case and a lack of diversity in these fields can have dramatically negative effects on a number of industries. One of the most significant drawbacks is a lack of innovation.
When teams are diverse, they are typically more innovative and better at solving problems in important ways. This is because diverse groups bring together a variety of perspectives, each bringing something different to the table. This results in more robust ideating and more effective innovation.
In the STEM fields, innovation is an incredibly significant aspect of helping the world advance in various ways. This being the case, promoting more diversity in STEM education has the power to promote more innovations and breakthroughs in a variety of different fields.
Diversity In STEM Can Inspire a New Generation
Historically, STEM fields have been markedly undiversified with many of those studying STEM subjects and working in STEM fields being white males. Fortunately, the tides are beginning to change and these fields are beginning to become more diverse. However, there is still progress to be made as STEM fields are still not completely representative of the population.
By promoting diversity in STEM education, educational institutions have the power to inspire a diverse array of individuals to pursue careers in STEM. In particular, by producing diverse STEM professionals that can act as role models to those interested in these fields.
When individuals from minorities and marginalized groups see themselves represented in STEM fields, they’ll feel more motivated to pursue a role in one of these fields themselves. This being the case, initiatives to diversify STEM education have the power to boost the number of diverse individuals pursuing a career path in these fields.
Diversity in STEM Promotes Equality in Society
As has been noted, the STEM fields have a long history of lacking diversity. The fact that many facets of STEM still lack diversity paints a grim picture of the country and indicates that there are biases against certain types of groups. For those who come from minority and marginalized groups, this can seem like a sign that they’re not welcome in some sectors of society.
By promoting diversity in STEM education, these various fields can become more inundated with professionals from diverse backgrounds. As a result, this will signal to many individuals from various groups that they don’t have to feel unwelcome in these various fields. This being the case, it’s clear that promoting diversity in STEM education has the power to promote equality in society and signal to various individuals that they’re capable of exploring any career they’d like to.
How Schools Can Promote Diversity in STEM Education
As the world changes, more and more schools are becoming interested in promoting diversity in their STEM departments. Unfortunately, it can sometimes seem like a difficult task to accomplish. Thankfully, being exposed to some key strategies can make the process more manageable.
Here are some ways that schools can promote diversity in STEM education.
Provide Extra Support to Students From Minority and Marginalized Groups
Schools intent on diversifying their STEM departments have the opportunity to do so by providing extra support to students from minority and marginalized groups. Examples include providing special programs for women in coding or offering free tutoring and academic support to those from minority backgrounds. By going the extra mile to make a diverse range of individuals feel welcome in STEM, schools can see a transformation in these departments.
Cultivate a Diverse STEM Faculty
Not seeing oneself represented in a specific field can make it difficult to pursue. To ensure that students from diverse backgrounds don’t experience this, schools can seek out diverse STEM professionals to be on their faculties. By making sure that various groups are represented in this way, STEM departments will organically attract a more diverse student population.
Create Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorship programs are effective and powerful ways to get a diverse range of students interested in STEM. These programs can be especially impactful to students from marginalized backgrounds who likely wouldn’t be exposed to the STEM field without these opportunities. By investing in initiatives like these, schools can help create a more robust and diverse professional landscape in STEM.
It’s Time for STEM to Be Diversified
Though the STEM fields have lacked significant amounts of diversity for decades, the world is finally starting to change. However, to truly impact these fields in a consequential way, diversifying STEM education is key.
The more STEM programs are able to attract and support a diverse array of students, the more innovative and welcoming the STEM fields will become. Consequently, promoting diversity in educational institutions has the power to alter the world in beneficial and impactful ways.