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This year’s campaign theme for International Women’s Day is “Press for Progress,” and there is no better time to share a bit of positive news about the gender wage gap—as it applies to women in the science, technology, engineering and math workforce.  The gap is smaller for women working at STEM jobs than for those in non-STEM jobs, according to the latest “Women in STEM: 2017 Update” published Nov. 13 by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics & Statistics Administration.

Key findings in the full report, which paints a detailed picture of the STEM economy’s gender dynamics, note that:

  • Women with STEM jobs earned 35 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs — even higher than the 30 percent STEM premium for men.
  • Women with STEM jobs also earned 40 percent more than men with non-STEM jobs.
But consistent with earlier research, findings also show that women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. While women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs in 2015, they held only 24 percent of STEM jobs. Women comprise “slightly more than half” of college-educated workers but make up only 25 percent of college-educated STEM workers.

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) cybersecurity faculty members Loyce Pailen and Tamie Santiago are among those working hard to close the gender gap in the STEM workforce by encouraging girls and young women to learn more about STEM fields early—and, perhaps, one day, embrace the wide-ranging career potential STEM fields offer.

Enter the STEAM movement, an educational initiative created by the Rhode Island School of Design that adds the arts to the original STEM framework and creates additional pathways for engaging students in STEM curricula.

On Feb. 24, both Pailen and Santiago participated in “Fuel Your Future with STEAM,” a day-long event for elementary, middle and high school students sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Center at Indian Head, Maryland, to inspire and empower girls to pursue STEM majors—and careers.

Read “Full STEAM Ahead: UMUC Cyber Faculty Members Help Girls Fuel Futures in Tech,” posted on UMUC’s Cyber Connections blog to learn more about their efforts.