In our rapidly advancing world, STEM has never been more important. Indeed, our developments in this field have allowed us to live in more innovative societies. With this, you’d think that everyone has an equal chance of participating in this field.
The numbers say otherwise. Only about 28 percent of the entire STEM workforce are women, with this industry heavily skewed towards men, and even less than that for people of other marginalized genders.
We see that there are different reasons for this:
(1) STEM education feels exclusive for women and queer folk.
(2) There’s a lack of representation of these people in the STEM fields.
(3) There are barely any initiatives by schools to make learning environments inclusive for them.
(4) Despite the oversaturation of resources by external organizations, STEM opportunities remain inaccessible to these people.
From the myriad of problems they face in the pursuit of STEM through education emerges some current solutions. But these approaches to making STEM more inclusive are ineffective. There’s an abundance of opportunities and initiatives by external organizations that aim to fix the gender gap but… a solution from schools themselves, the very environment that perpetuates these STEM stereotypes, has yet to arise.
So when the world’s stacked against these people, it’s no wonder that they are underrepresented and discouraged from going into these fields. How do we strive to fix the gender gap in STEM? How do we empower women and queer folk to pursue their dreams in a STEM world that is inclusive and accessible?
Introducing... FixEd. The world’s first supplementary STEM education app created to address this gender gap.
FixEd has a bunch of pivotal features:
(1) FixEd allows students to access and make “study playlists” of STEM online learning resources pulled from the internet. These topics can be anything under the STEM umbrella, from computer programming to AP-level physics, making STEM education more accessible to the groups who need it the most.
(2) At the same time, FixEd aims to shatter false gender perceptions in STEM by including built-in playlists such as “The History of Women and Queer Folk in STEM”.
(3) FixEd also offers a database of STEM-based opportunities such as competitions, workshops, programs, and internships to offer more exposure for women and queer individuals.
(4) Lastly, the app also has a community feature wherein our target students can make online communities to act as support systems, empowering them to go pursue their STEM-related dreams.
After designing this prototype, we plan on developing the app, then seeking out partner high schools, first in Asia, who can integrate the app into their curriculum.
We can scale our solution through a number of different ways:
(1) We can offer our app to partner schools outside of Asia, gradually expanding across the globe.
(2) Then expand our partnerships with educational platforms such as KhanAcademy, Crash Course, and the like to offer more educational content on the app.
(3) Once we reach a large enough scale, we can then partner with nonprofits around the world that promote women and gender minorities in STEM such as GirlsWhoCode.
(4) Eventually, we aim to release FixEd to the general public to offer STEM education to gender minorities outside of the formal education system, creating an impact that goes beyond the classroom.
With this, we create a handful of social impacts aligned with our app’s goals. We shatter wrong gender perceptions in STEM from the high school level, pushing both educators and students to create a more gender-inclusive approach to education. And we connect women and queer folk to STEM opportunities that already exist, but they might not be aware of due to existing social barriers.
With FixEd, we can fix the gender gap and empower these youth to be the next scientists, engineers, doctors, and researchers of tomorrow.