Nontraditional Careers Gain STEAM

Fall 2017, News
Melanie Clark

LOCAL WOMEN PAVE THE WAY

BY MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

Some people have hobbies, such as mountain biking or painting. My favorite pastime has always been working for gender equality. That’s where I’ve put the majority of my efforts as a volunteer, and it’s where I continue to concentrate much of my energy. It’s my passion, and I am hopeful that I will witness true gender equality in my lifetime.

Equality can mean equal treatment on a lot of levels—ranging from basic human rights to equal pay for equal work. It’s the economic aspect of equality that most interests me these days, because that is where I believe we can really impact lives—not just women’s lives, but lives of entire families; possibly even generations.

In my mind, equal pay for equal work, fair advancement opportunities for all and economic security are all part of the gender equity package. And where does economic security start? With jobs—good jobs that pay well.

Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in many of today’s highest paying jobs. This includes jobs in the STEM sectors—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Some people have added an A to this acronym—for Arts—and are calling these the STEAM careers. We have dedicated this issue of Today’s Omaha Woman to exploring all five areas.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, although women fill nearly half of all jobs in the U.S., we hold just 25 percent of STEM jobs. The few women who do hold these positions earn about 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs.

Even more importantly, the outlook for growth in these areas is strong: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations related to STEM are projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. That’s an increase of about 1 million jobs over 2012 employment levels.

This is why efforts to engage young people in these career fields have skyrocketed—with educational programs, summer camps, professional networking groups and more starting to really gain, well, steam. This is exciting for young women starting their careers or those looking for a change—because a good-paying job in a growing field can change everything for a woman and her family.

Read on to discover more about careers in these areas, and meet women who are paving the way for others. W

 

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