'Our voices are needed': Supporting Wisconsin women in STEM

By Dana Fulton | WKOW

MIT Research highlights several factors contributing to the gender gap, including stereotypes, lack of role models, unconscious hiring biases, and work-life imbalance challenges.

Particularly stark is the underrepresentation of women of color, who make up about 20% of the U.S. civilian labor force but less than 3% of the STEM workforce. To bridge the gap, experts say early education opportunities and mentorship are crucial.

Organizations like Maydm, a Madison-based STEM-focused nonprofit, are leading the way in addressing these gaps and making STEM fields more accessible to young girls.

“When we talk about body scrubs or beauty science or skating, where we can sneak in engineering and physics, those are everyday topics that they're more interested in,” said Dr. Christina Outlay, Executive Director of Maydm. “We add in STEM as it relates to those topics and show how it doesn't have to be either or if you're interested in different things.”

Dr. Outlay emphasizes the importance of such opportunities, especially for young black and brown girls. She adds that progress is challenging but attainable with continued effort and support.

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