We live in a community that boasts greater economic and career freedom than any time in the past, there’s no doubt about that. But the glass ceiling, the glass cliff, or whatever you wish to call it still exists. Not just because of prevailing stereotypes, but because there are still plenty of fields in which women don’t have as storied a presence as men. In particular, there’s still a big discrepancy between the women and the men going into careers in the sciences. Here’s why you should think about being part of the change to that.
Women need more representation
For one, there are still plenty of young girls facing barriers they don’t understand when it comes to their ideas of future careers and their roles in society. There are already some great role models for women in the sciences, past and present. There’s plenty of support for them from groups like STEM Women, as well. But until the dialogue about young girls, what they want to grow up to be, and the kind of future they can expect changes, we will always need more role models and more representatives in the sciences. It shouldn’t be a weird choice for girls and a natural one for boys, as it can still often get framed.
There’s a lot of wiggle room
If you’re science-minded and you have decided if you want to go through with it simply because you haven’t found your passion, it’s important to realize that you don’t have to pick that passion any time soon. If you like the process, then you can definitely find the field to love it in. Biology, physics, and chemistry all have a plethora of options that they lead into. Going even further, studying one field can lead to a variety of careers, too. One of the most notable things about the most rewarding astronomy careers, to choose just one field, is how different they all are. You can work in universities, observatories, theoretical labs, and all different kinds of environments. It’s not a path that limits you in any way.
Love a job that pays well
If you do love your science and you’re good at it, then you’re lucky. Science is a field that tends to pay very well. If you stick to the career, you’re far less likely to have to pick between whether you follow your passions or follow the trail of money. Plus it’s a great way to show other young women that they can find a path in life where they’re happy and successful without the common idea that they somehow have to give up their professional agency to achieve those very things for themselves.
Of course, a woman is free to choose any career she pleases and shouldn’t feel like she has to put her passions on hold because of perceived values. However, if you have an interest in the sciences, there are plenty of reasons to further consider it beyond your own love of the field.