TEMPLE, TX — Growing up in a household with two older brothers and one younger one, Taliyah Johnson knows how it feels to be the only female in the room.
“I would go and I would wanna play and play pickup and stuff,” she said, remembering playing basketball with her brothers growing up. “And the boys would play totally different against me because I’m a girl.”
As a basketball player and an aspiring pharmacy technician, not much will change, because there aren't many women in STEM occupations.
“As a woman, we are challenged by how, you said, a male-dominant world,” her classmate, Erica Dunovant said. “But we as women can do the same things as men.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women accounted for less than 16% of all engineers in 2019, while less than 30% worked in mathematics and computer science fields.
“Our science suffers. It's a problem with objectivity and reliability if we don't have different kinds of people doing the science,” said Dr. Roslyn Fraser-Schoen, an assistant professor of sociology at Texas A&M Central Texas.
She then went on the explain how the under-representation of women in STEM-related industries gained national attention.
Dr. Fraser-Schoen says the government took matters into its own hands and allocated funding to find out why there was a lack of women in STEM-related work places.
“The federal government, the National Science Foundation, recognizes that not only is it a problem of just inequality, but it hurts our science,” she said, emphasizing the importance behind her statement.
Even with the odds stacked against them, the two high schoolers say they’re going to continue to conquer any gender norms there might be in STEM programs.
“I'm just gonna tackle it the same way I've always been tackling it," Dunovant said. "I don't see the other genders as being a competition. It's just, we have a job to do.”
”I think it’s really good that there’s a lot of females that are wanting to do these things and wanting to prove that, you know, women can do it too,” Johnson followed.