Whenever we bring up the lack of representation of women in STEM careers were are often asked:
“Why should I care?”
The under-representation of women in STEM is a detriment to everyone in STEM fields and our nation as a whole. The United States' global industrial advantage is based on the technological innovation and creativity of its population. Institutional bias in STEM fields reduces the size of the nations innovative workforce and limits its intellectual diversity. To remain competitive as a country we will need to address the gender gap in science, and find ways to counteract it.
The absence of women in STEM careers is not due to a lack of interest or participation. Women are pursing STEM graduate degrees at record rates. Fifty-six percent of all biological science Ph.D.s and postdoctoral fellowships are awarded to women. However, subtle gender bias, and accumulated instances of discrimination at each step of training and professional development can set women back relative to their male colleagues.
PGWISE aims to correct this disparity by through a combination of community outreach and career development training targeted at women and gender minorities, but open to all who wish to participate and share our goals of advancing women in STEM. Recruiting and retaining women in STEM is a tangible way that we as graduate students can change the culture of science and education at the University of Pennsylvania and beyond. We use our passion for research to help foster an interest in science among girls and their allies early in their educational careers, while cultivating a community at Penn dedicated to facilitating the advancement of female graduate and post-doctoral trainees.
Ultimately we hope to create an environment at Penn and nationally where women and their allies are given the opportunities to be successful in their chosen fields, facilitating the growth an innovation of our country as a whole.
While PGWISE is designed to support women and gender minorities pursuing STEM careers, PGWISE is open to students of any gender identity, and all are welcome and encouraged to join.