City Desk

Don’t Call STEM Careers “Non-Traditional”

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education has been heavily promoting an upcoming STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) conference for District girls from 8th grade to their first year in college.

As Kay Steiger noted, the STEM pipeline for women slows to a trickle by the time girls finish college, so reinforcing and building interest in tech careers is an unalloyed good. But we're not loving the name of the event: the "Young Women's Conference On Non-Traditional Careers."

Besides the odd formality of it, why not make a direct reference to STEM, instead of pointing out in big words that technology is a "non-traditional" career for women to pursue? Even though there is a gender (and race) gap in tech, GOOD magazine points out there are actually plenty of women in technology who are working to get other women involved. Why not take a cue from them and normalize women in tech, instead of focusing on how non-traditional it is?

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  1. #1

    I believe the conference includes other non-traditional careers that do not directly relate to STEM (at least not the way we like to think of it in academia). For example, careers such as auto mechanics, plumbing, etc. This may be why it is named in this way.

  2. #2

    The verbiage of "non-traditional" career is a bit odd with any gender/career choice in general. My only qualm is that as a whole, we are not doing enough to advance STEM education (nor the quality teachers that teach STEM). Actually, this summer I'm sending my daughters to the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Florida (, which teaches students STEM principles in an immersive environment using state of the art simulators and role play. I'm really happy this program exists because I honestly don't think my kids are getting quality science/math education at their school.

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