Over the last few years, many studies have shown a gender gap in STEM fields. Publicity about this gender gap has brought attention to the fact that fewer women than men are working in STEM-related jobs. Such a situation is worrisome for many reasons. Among them is the lost potential that the gender gap represents. Who knows what great discovery or contribution to society could have been made by a woman with an aptitude for STEM who chose to pursue a different path?
In order to solve the challenge of the STEM gender gap, efforts have been made to encourage school-age girls to pursue a STEM education. The efforts often consist of programs targeted to girls between the ages of 12 and 18. One organization, the Girl Scouts of America, begins STEM programming even younger, with girls as early as kindergarten receiving exposure to and participating in STEM-related activities.
However, what happens after the 12th grade? How can college women be encouraged to pursue STEM-related majors? One way is by making a college degree in STEM more affordable. Another is through membership in STEM-related college clubs for women. In such clubs, female college students can find a sense of community among others with similar interests. Read on to learn about several national organizations that sponsor college clubs designed to encourage women to pursue STEM majors.
Association for Women in Science
The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is an organization devoted to increasing the participation of women in STEM fields. AWIS has 70 local groups, some of which are associated with colleges and universities. The groups offer workshops, local field trips, social events, networking opportunities, mentoring programs, and more.
Society of Women Engineers
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), which focuses on women who work in the engineering field, seeks to improve support and networking opportunities for female engineers. SWE offers membership to professionals and college students in engineering-related fields. College students receive benefits such as scholarship opportunities, access to a specialized career center, access to seminars and webinars, and networking opportunities.
Association for Women Geoscientists
The Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) aims to expand the participation of women in the field of geoscience with a particular focus on connecting girls and young women to a future in the field of geosciences. AWG has 34 chapters in the United States and Canada, several of which are located on college or university campuses. A primary activity for AWG clubs is networking, and an annual field trip is offered to a place of significant global geological interest, such as Baja California, the Grand Canyon, the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington and Oregon, Iceland, Scotland, and others.
Association for Women in Mathematics
The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) aims to increase the number of women studying mathematics and pursuing it as a career. In addition, the organization seeks to achieve equality for females in the field of mathematics. AWM has more than 100 student chapters around the world, most of which are in the United States. Student chapters provide members with networking opportunities, social support, seminars, field trips, and conferences.
American Medical Women’s Association
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is committed to promoting the participation of women in medicine and women’s medical care around the world. Offering membership to college students enrolled in premedical programs, AMWA also provides a variety of benefits such as college membership, access to mentors who work in the medical field, opportunities for female pre-med students to develop leadership skills, advocacy activities, and peer support.
Women in Science and Engineering
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) hosts the special interest group Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), an organization that emphasizes networking and relationship-building for female members of NSBE. Membership in WiSE is available to both professionals and college students. Among the activities available for members are workshops, webinars, and mentoring opportunities.
A resource to support women’s STEM-related college and graduate student groups, the Scientista Foundation primarily seeks to raise awareness about these groups and create new campus clubs where there are no other STEM-related programs for women in place. Scientista has 35 chapters on United States and Canadian college and university campuses. Membership in Scientista provides access to campus lectures, networking opportunities, and social events. In addition, members have the opportunity to participate in an annual national symposium hosted by organizations such as Microsoft and MIT that regularly feature speakers from groups such as the American Museum of Natural History, SWAAY Media, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.