The journey of women in STEM

by Bongi Maje

Women have always had to prove that they are just as equal and just as capable.
Woman have always had to go the extra mile to show that they are worthy or that they are just as smart, but it’s quite funny because the greatest saying is “behind every strong man there is a strong woman standing behind him.”
Delving deeper look into statistics, women are still showing up in industries like mathematics, science, engineering, it is said that there is an expected 12% of women. The growth that is expected to happen within 2014 to 2024 currently there is an overall growth of 24% increase in women being part of this incredible industry.
It made me think why is that? Are we scared? Do we perhaps not have all the confidence in ourselves? Do we lack something to be in these exponential industries?
I honestly don’t think so, I think that we are going in the right direction. What is it more surprising is that we get blocked at every front door that we knock at and yet we still able to find a way to get in through the back door, just like a great woman by the name of Mary Winston Jackson who had to work in the segregated West Area computing division or even Katherine Johnson who was known for mastering complex manual calculations and innovate the use of computers at NASA, but to accomplish all those things they had to go through the most intense challenges from race, educational status and yet we still face these problems today with our counterpart co-workers such as feeling unsafe within the workspace that they have been given, dealing with sexist remarks, being belittled amongst co-workers and having to work harder to prove your worth.
I believe that women are making the changes that we need to make and we make them with a magnifying glass under us and is still able to prove that we are just as capable, we are just as smart, we are just as confident as our male counterparts, and we are willing to keep pushing to change the statistics. The statistics will change because there are so many programs that encourage us like podcasts like Brain on, Every little thing, whether it be in schools or whether it be on television and social media.
We talking about it we see different woman doing so many exciting things that are forward thinking, such as Chelsea Clinton who has created a foundation that reaches out to young girls to pursue their dreams in the STEM industry, Brittany Wenger who created an artificial brain to detect signs of breast cancer, Sabrina González Pasterski created her first kit aircraft and it was considered airworthy.
I don’t think that we falling behind, we have to lay a foundation for our young girls and continue to improve the statistics in the STEM industry, this does not have to be an expensive foundation even though it may look so but if we continue to create more STEM extra murals in schools for young girls, give them tasks that they can relate to if we can create and encourage them to believe in their ability to be innovative and create anything that they can think of, then we should be the ones to stand behind our young girls and say ‘yes that is possible, we can create and bring your ideas to life.’
Share in the comments below who inspires you and why.


  • Refilwe Mashile says:

    I am just inspired by every female who was brave enough to believe in their potential and actually pursue a career in STEM.

    Everytime I meet such an individual, I really tell them how inspiring it is for me to know we are changing the ratio.

  • Mirna says:

    I really enjoyed your article, I am always encouraged by the fact that despite the challenges that women face – we still able to accomplish great things. Michelle Obama, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and Kopano Matlwa to name a few are some of the women that inspire me because of their confidence and courage to achieve their dreams/goals despite challenges and difficulties. Really enjoyed this piece =)

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