Unlocking Potential: The Power of Charity in Achieving Gender Equity in STEM
By Shivani Nandani, CGEST Graduate Research Assistant
In times when identity, gender, and ethnicity have been infused into the discussion in the scientific and technological fields, it is apt to acknowledge the importance of National Charity Day, which falls closer to National Democracy Day. These two celebrations reveal how empathy and compassion could be the catalysts in achieving gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
National Charity Day serves as a reminder of the pivotal role charity and benevolence can play in promoting equality and inclusivity. For organizations like the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) at Arizona State University, charity isn't merely about financial contributions. It is about fostering a charitable mindset, characterized by inclusivity, and aimed at garnering respect and credibility for underrepresented groups.
A significant yet underachieved goal in present times is gender equality, especially in STEM fields. Women remain underrepresented in these areas despite constituting half of the global population. More scarce is the participation of girls and women of color. Given this backdrop, the potential role of charity becomes critical. Donations can sponsor science and technology education programs, supporting underrepresented girls in accessing quality STEM education, opening opportunities, and bridging the gap between their current situations and potential success.
Moreover, inequalities in STEM are not just an issue of justice; they hamper the quality and impact of work produced. When the STEM sector lacks diversity, it risks missing a variety of perspectives and innovative solutions. A diverse workforce in STEM makes the industry more vibrant and productive and fuels the engine of creative and innovative thinking.
The importance of charity in promoting gender equity in STEM cannot be underestimated. It is an effective tool to promote and ensure gender equality. As we reflect on National Charity and Democracy Days, it is an ideal opportunity to express our benevolence by supporting initiatives that further this cause. After all, our collective efforts today will shape the gender landscape of the STEM sector of tomorrow. A vibrant, inclusive, and productive STEM sector might not be just an aspirational goal but an achievable reality.