While women often continue to earn less than men, the question arises about STEM skills and whether they can help close the gender gap in the future. Encouraging young women to pursue jobs traditionally held by men could be a way to further equality in the workplace.

What Are STEM Skills?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education. In the workplace, these skills are often intertwined. Educational experts have found STEM is an interdisciplinary approach that requires hands-on learning based on problem-solving.

Preparing for the Decade Ahead

Millions of jobs will be available over the next decade in male-dominated fields such as IT, construction, transportation and manufacturing. Encouraging young women to consider these fields is a way to help achieve greater security in the future and close the gender gap by filling high-demand positions.

The Growth of Manufacturing

After a decline in the United States, manufacturing is growing again. It is a sector that can provide well-paid jobs for those who might not go to college. Since 2010, the industry has added about a half million jobs. However, US News reports just 7 percent of them have been filled by women. Often the manufacturing jobs taken by women pay far less, such as filling machine operators than male-dominated fields such as welding. Women should seek to fill skilled positions in various manufacturing and logistics industries in the decade ahead.

Other Sectors for Women to Consider

Other jobs predominantly filled by men include information technology, transportation, and construction. These industries will need a skilled workforce and many women need to find a way to help support their families. In the future, employers will be looking to match skilled female workers with the jobs they need to fill. Educators and families need to prepare young women for these job of high-paying careers.

Getting Girls Ready for STEM Careers in the Future

The first step toward encouraging women to enter into male-dominated fields is to encourage girls to boost their STEM-skills. Enroll your daughter in a computer class at the local library so she develops an interest in technology. Pique her interest in technology and math by encouraging her to join a LEGO robotics club and get involved in local competitions. Teach her about construction with a Fort Magic kit that makes building fun.

Teaching girls STEM skills today will help develop the female workforce industries will be looking for in the next decade. Playing with dolls is still fun and important. But women of the future need to be multi-dimensional to succeed in a business world that continues to evolve and remain focused on STEM skills.