Although having a specific gender is not mentioned in a job application, in some fields, one’s potential career can heavily depend on it.
The unjust prejudice between genders has led to innumerable issues in work-life balance, unequal pay wages and workplace discrimination, just to list a few.
The bias that many women face in the workplace is a topic that has been debated for decades.This complex situation creates an unwarranted challenge, and can even dissuade some women from seeking specific fields for a career. A study conducted by The Women’s Leadership Network found that only 13% of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) personnel are women.
Fortunately, due to organizations and acts of activism, progress has been made to prevent this epidemic from increasing. UVa-Wise’s newest organization, Women in STREAM, not only offers students a chance to learn about the issues women face in STREAM fields, but also delivers tactics on how to overcome these barriers.
“The purpose of Women in STREAM is to provide mentorship for students considering, majoring, or interested in STREAM and STREAM-related fields,” said Dr. Alexandria Reynolds. “We also want to encourage, support, and facilitate academic, volunteer, and professional opportunities in STREAM and STREAM-related areas.”
With a strong focus on conquering the obstacles women face in the STREAM fields, the group aims to provide assistance to the community by promoting breadth, diversity, and exposure to women in STREAM. The group is currently organizing a community outreach event planned for November. “For the fall semester, we are organizing the Girls’ Day in STEM-H event, so most of our meetings will actually be geared towards preparing for this major event,” Reynolds added.
While the group is centered around the development and success of women in the STREAM fields, everyone is welcome to attend the meetings, regardless of gender identity. “We know that having all perspectives, especially men in these fields,” Reynolds said, “is imperative to understanding and reversing so many of these issues that are faced in the science and science-related fields.”
Women in STREAM was created by Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Madelynn Shell with the aspiration of bringing UVa-Wise a mentorship group similar to one at Reynolds’ prior institution. Drs. Floyd Beckford and Josephine Rodriguez aided in the process of deciding on the club’s name, organizing, and how to launch the group. Kathy Still, UVa-Wise’s director of news and media relations, assisted in introducing the group to campus, as well as advertising the meetings and events.
The group also attracted many students to help out during its launch, including Allyssa Sluss, Raven Miller, Bailey Christoforatos, Lewie Moore and Ashlee Taylor. “This year, we are expecting many more students to attend meetings and be involved on a regular basis,” Reynolds said.
Currently, Women in STREAM is awaiting the SGA’s final review, which will declare the group to become an official UVa-Wise club. Although the meetings for this semester have not been scheduled yet, Reynolds anticipates the first meeting to be held around the middle of September. For more information about Women in STREAM and how to become involved, email Dr. Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.