Why do Women Stay Away from STEM Careers? Poor Storytelling


As America struggles to find talent in technical careers, we’ve done a poor job of telling stories on why more women should take up science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.  At a recent panel discussion on the role of women in STEM careers, women said they felt a sense of isolation that grew from being underrepresented in technical careers.

STEM careers offered less social acceptance as they grew up. One panel member said that she had to purposely fail a math course to find acceptance in her social circles that had a distaste towards STEM careers. Another felt she always struggled to have a sense of acceptance among her peers.

Women are leading the jobs sector in multiple areas. But STEM fields are male dominated and less diverse. Why should a girl interested in robotics at high school face social stigma if she wants to become an engineer? Here are a few ways we can make systemic change:

  • Ask a professor in engineering to link dry equations and mechanical stuff to how  they really change the world.
  • Make simple changes in curriculum so that every science course adds a “make a difference” component. Value story telling.
  • Fathers have an important role in nurturing young girls to enter STEM careers.
  • Provide middle school students with diverse role models in STEM careers. Make sure that they are fun to relate to.
  • Add mentoring and value-added internships at the high school level. Give this opportunity to students from all public schools, not just students from prep schools and élite private schools.
  • Make sure that teachers teach science and math with passion. Unfortunately, our education system enjoys lengthy “common core standards.”  This drains teachers’ time in adapting to standards. Make sure that bureaucratic standards do not take away the joy and passion of learning math and science.

Transparency in Cause Marketing


How transparent is cause related marketing? Do you really know if the $5 that you spend on a Starbucks bracelet will actually help create jobs in America? Or, is the role of Starbucks to create jobs or sell good coffee?

Mara Einstein , an associate professor at Queens College enters this debate with an article titled “Charities shouldn’t let corporate marketers set the agenda,” in the May 3 edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Einstein argues that when businesses sell products by touting social causes, they begin to pollute the sacred territory of charities. This creates a power imbalance causing product manufacturers to focus on the bottom line rather than on the charitable intent.

In a sagging economy where neither governments nor nonprofits alone can create jobs, why can’t for-profit businesses sell more products and do good for society? The more we spend, the economy performs better. Einstein counters this argument stating that when businesses start helping charitable causes, government will cut spending on critical areas.

Einstein suggests that businesses could  be more transparent and let donors know how the money is used. What if Starbucks could explain where the $5 donations went? Will all funds go towards creating jobs?  A transparent, online site that tracks  cause-marketing initiatives and societal benefits will be useful.