Geeky Girl Reality Finds Female Role Models Can Significantly Influence STEM Outcomes

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“Why aren’t more women entering and remaining in science and technology? What’s causing this gender gap?”

Geeky Girl Reality is a longitudinal, independent research project exploring how women’s experiences influence their interests in science and technology.

There are still comparatively few women working in science and technology. Recent studies show that only 23% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals are women, and 27% of these are likely to leave their job within the first year. The Geeky Girl Reality research project aims to add valuable insights into the question “Why aren’t more women entering and remaining in science and technology? What’s causing this gender gap?”

We’re drawing on data from our spring 2016 survey of 163 women between the ages of 15-46 from 16 countries around the world to help answer this question.

Who are the participants?
The Geeky Girl Reality survey participants are diverse, representing different countries, cultures and age groups. 10% of the participants are 18 and under, 54% are aged 18-21, 26% are aged 22-30 and 6% are aged 31-40. Geographically 33% are from Europe, 51% are from North America, 10% are from Asia, 3% are from Oceania and 3% are from Africa.

First series findings 2016
Mentors played an important role in their plans for the future. According to one participant, “[My mentor] has taught me a lot about being a woman out in the real world and has helped me choose what I want to do.”

Findings suggest more than half of women with no mentor or with an unrelated male mentor did not plan to pursue a STEM career. By contrast, women with an unrelated female mentor were the most likely to pursue STEM, with 68% of women indicating a STEM-related career plan. It appears that women are most encouraged when they have another successful unrelated woman as an inspiration. It’s possible that male mentors are not as easy to relate to and harder to identify with, which coincides with other research in this area.

How we are using this data to drive change
Awareness of opportunities is important and can influence the journeys of young women when starting their careers. At Geeky Girl Reality, research data is used to understand the needs of young women pursuing STEM careers. The goal is to drive forward useful initiatives such as a private, online community for STEM girls and women; a mentor connection programme, and partnering with companies and Universities who offer internships and other opportunities for women in STEM.

This has just been the start of the Geeky Girl Reality research and exploration into the experiences of women in STEM. Keep an eye out for more news as the research project continues to develop insights into other influences affecting women’s careers.

In response to the user needs of 2016 survey respondents, the Geeky Girl Reality project created an online STEM community run by moderators who share resources, ideas, and opportunities across the globe. "The Geeky Girl Reality online STEM community at https://discuss.geekyreality.com is currently invite-only so we can create a nurturing space with a focused audience. Young women studying STEM at university, thinking of pursuing a career in STEM, and professionals already working in STEM are encouraged to join by emailing info(at)geekyreality(dot)com" says Gurmeet Nakhwal, community moderator for India and South Asia.

The Geeky Girl Reality research project is conducted independently and non-for-profit by the user research team at Ad Hoc Global LTD. Our research aims to add insights into the experiences of girls studying or interested in STEM as well as professional women with established careers in STEM, with regards to gender, motivations, challenges, goals and prejudices.

Read more about our 2016 research findings:
http://blog.adhocglobal.com/geeky-girl-reality-2016
http://blog.adhocglobal.com/geeky-girl-reality-2016-2nd-series
http://blog.adhocglobal.com/geeky-girl-reality-2016-3rd-series

Our 2017 survey is currently underway.
http://tinyurl.com/geekygirl2017

The Geeky Girl Reality website is http://www.geekyreality.com where we will add more findings from the 2017 survey. Keep up to date with findings by following The Geeky Girl Reality on Facebook and Twitter.

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Molly Goodman

Geeky Girl Reality Research Project
Ad Hoc Global LTD
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since: 03/2016
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