[Image above] Credit: Amy; Flickr CC BY 2.0

Demand for pros in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics continues to trend upward. It’s projected that about one million more STEM professionals will be needed in the U.S. alone by 2022, according to the 2012 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Report on Education.

And if we want to drill down further, inspiring young women to enter STEM fields has never been more important. A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce says that “only one in seven engineers are women” in this country.

But did you know that women who work in STEM-related careers earn about 33% more than women in non-STEM careers, according to that same report?

And although women earned almost 10 million more college degrees than men over the past 34 years, only about 14% of engineers in the work force are women, according to stats from the International Society of Automation.

To rally behind the initiative to get more girls interested in STEM career fields, the International Society of Automation and its umbrella organization, the Automation Federation, are supporting Girl Day, an annual celebration of girls’ interests and aptitude in STEM education and potential in STEM-related career fields that will be recognized across the U.S. on February 25.

(Check out this TEDx talk from education expert Heidi Olinger about how to get girls interested in STEM.) 

Credit: TEDx Talks; YouTube

Sponsored by DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation), Girl Day is designed to “spur national awareness around the importance of attracting more females to engineering and automation, and inspire more personal and community-based involvement in introducing girls to the marvels and excitement of STEM learning,” says a press release on ISA’s website.

(DiscoverE has some videos on their YouTube channel that feature Girl Day role models. Check them out herehere, and here.)

“Girl Day is an opportunity for ISA and Automation Federation members, as well as other engineers and automation professionals, to make a difference in a girls’ lives by showing them the road to a rewarding and engaging career,” Peggie Koon, 2014 ISA president and 2015 chair of the Automation Federation, says in the release. “As professionals in the field, we can share our own personal stories of exploration, discovery, and accomplishment.”

Koon’s own experiences inspire her to encourage more mentoring to help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about STEM education and get children—especially girls—excited in the field at an early age.

“Parents must be encouraged to become advocates in the school system for their young daughters who show interest in STEM education. Teachers must be trained to recognize interest and be advocates for inclusion of young women who show interest and/or potential in STEM fields. And industry must partner with schools, colleges, and universities to provide scholarships, internships, and other programs that help young women pursue STEM education and careers. Government has a role to play in this as well by providing incentives to schools that develop programs to promote STEM education for young women,” Koon adds.

Interested in getting involved?

Learn more about how you can participate in Girl Day in your community!

The Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation and The American Ceramic Society are also committed to reaching the next generation of STEM professionals. Learn more about how the CGIF is giving back to the ceramics and glass community and how you can help.