STEM Mentors Being Sought

January 16, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

YWCA USA is partnering with the “Million Women Mentors” (MWM) initiative, which launched last month during National Mentoring Month, in Washington, D.C. The initiative will support the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors — male and female — to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

Million Women Mentors is a collective effort of more than 40 nonprofit, media, education and government industry partners and nine corporate sponsors. “The YWCA USA is pleased to collaborate with the Million Women Mentors initiative in order to strengthen STEM programming for girls and young women across the country,” said Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., CEO of the YWCA USA. “In 1997, we developed a program called TechGYRLS to address the evident and significant gender gap in girls’ interest and skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

During the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. While women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, just 24 percent are working in STEM fields — a statistic that has held constant for nearly the last decade, according to the YWCA. While 75 percent of all college students are women and students of color, they represent only 45 percent of STEM degrees earned each year.