Today is International Women’s Day. In some countries, this holiday involves women receiving flowers and gifts from all the men in their lives; however, in others, women will protest and demand policy changes–particularly in the nations where women’s rights are newly under threat. For instance, in the United States, women are going on strike in what is being called “A Day Without A Woman.” Today has been marked by protests and advocacy for gender equality. The protest dates back to the first women’s day when, in 1908, women marched for better working conditions. Women have consistently been treated as subordinate and submissive towards their male-counterparts in the workplace, which can be most noticeably be seen through the wage gap and limited opportunity. And unfortunately, this behavior and treatment can be reflected through business and STEM careers.
Throughout history, women and girls have been discouraged from entering STEM careers; however, Microsoft is taking action and launching the next phase of its “Make What’s Next” campaign. This campaign encourages girls to enter tech and science fields, and is showing these girls the steps to make their STEM dreams a reality. Last year, Microsoft released an ad that showcased young girls stating how much they loved science, but failed to name any female scientists. Another video asks girls what they want to change in the world, but the inspirational moment is stopped when the brand tells the girls that “odds are you won’t solve any of these problems. Only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees.” The girls respond stating that they can do it, and the video ends with the words:
“Change the world. Stay in STEM.”
This is the effect that our society and the world desperately needs. We need to go beyond general awareness, and really take action to shift the perceptions of STEM careers. STEM is in high demand and girls should have equal opportunities to pursue their passions and skills in any area they desire.