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Only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees vs 17% of men, meaning men are 2.5 times more likely to enter these high paying fields.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women currently hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. And, globally, only 16 percent of female students graduate from STEM subjects, according to the World Economic Forum.
Microsoft is committed to helping close this gender gap and inspire more women to choose STEM career pathways, blaming the deficit in part on the lack of female STEM role models.
Microsoft has therefore released a video timed with International Women’s Day 2017, designed to challenge girls to stay in STEM so they are empowered to solve the problems they care about most, ranging from finding solutions to climate change to curing cancer.
The video is part of an existing campaign called #MakeWhatsNext, designed to raises awareness of the issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in STEM, and aimed to pique their excitement in how they can change the world — if they stay engaged.
The campaign includes other initiatives including:
- Microsoft and LinkedIn launched a new experiential tool in conjunction with the campaign to demonstrate how girls can pursue their passions across industries and social causes. The Career Explorer is a tool to show girls and women different ways that STEM is in demand and inspire them to pursue their passions, talents and skills in these areas.
- Microsoft aims to improve computer science education via free computer science learning opportunities and resources throughout the year, via partners including Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Girls Who Code, to reach students of all ages through their YouthSpark program. More than 80 percent of the students who benefit from YouthSpark initiatives globally are from underserved communities, and more than half are female.
- Microsoft is also working to close the gender gap at Microsoft itself by recruiting female talent into technical roles.
- Microsoft launched a Patent Program to spur patent creation by leveraging Microsoft’s patent law resources. The program aims to eliminate several barriers to filing for patents including legal guidance and funding, a critical step to empowering women to turn their brilliant ideas into businesses. Women currently hold only 7.5 percent of all patents and represent only up to 15 percent of all inventors.
Read more about Microsoft’s initiatives at their #MakeWhatsNext microsite here.