Encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM fields has become more important
in recent years. As around 90% of future employment opportunities are projected to necessitate some level of STEM skills, it is crucial to equip girls and young women with the necessary education and training to prepare them for future career prospects (Space for Women Champions Network, n.d.).
To tackle this issue, space exploration can be a solution. Liz Harvey, Deputy Program Manager Mission Cloud Platform stated that “There is a strong, impressive cadre of highly intelligent, successful women at NASA. This group forms an expansive energy source for mentoring, examples, support and demonstrating how to build a career in STEM as a member of an underrepresented group. They are the trailblazers and an invaluable source of lessons learned and best practices for women building careers in STEM.”. That is why space exploration can motivate young women to pursue STEM careers by offering practical experience opportunities and providing role models for them.
First of all, space exploration can encourage young women to pursue STEM careers by giving them practical experience. Internships and educational programs in various STEM fields, such as robotics, aerospace engineering, and computer science, can provide valuable hands-on learning opportunities for young women. According to Blodgett (2021), NASA aims to motivate young girls to pursue STEM careers. Therefore, they collaborate with schools and organizations to provide mentoring programs and internship opportunities to support and encourage girls in STEM. Consequently, by providing practical, hands-on experience, space exploration contributes to helping young women see the practical implications of STEM skills and be able to use them in real life, which gives them confidence to pursue career in STEM fields.
Secondly, seeing women who have accomplished success in STEM fields may vitally impact to ambitions and goals of young women. It is considered that space exploration provides platform to showcase women in leadership positions and various STEM fields. To illustrate, “Kathryn Lueders is an American engineer and business manager. Lueders is currently leading NASA’s human spaceflight program as the Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. She became the first woman to head human spaceflight.” (Blodgett, 2021a). There are also women engineers, “Powtawche Valerino is an American mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She worked as a navigation engineer for the Cassini mission.” (Blodgett, 2021a). Basically, by highlighting achievements of women who work for space agencies, young women would gain a confidence knowing that it is possible to work successfully in STEM as a woman.
In conclusion, space explorations’ role in empowering more young women in STEM is quite significant due to the former’s high potential to inspire a new generation of girls. Space exploration could break the stereotypes and encourage women that they are capable of having the same job opportunities as men do. Thus, providing role models and hands-on experiences may be only some of the examples of highlights of space exploration. Due to the scientific advancement it is essential to have STEM skills and space field may be one of the effectives ways in achieving the goal of women encouragement.