As a former Track & Field college athlete, I've always found solace and inspiration in putting one foot in front of the other to push myself each day. Prior to college graduation, I focused solely on hurdling and sprinting events, and frankly despised any distance longer than 400 meters. My former teammates would easily vouch for this as I had no shame in telling others of my dislike for distance running.
Things changed quickly once I started my professional career where I sat behind a desk for a good part of each day. Slowly the once forsaken three-mile run became part of my weekly workout regime allowing time to recharge, gather my thoughts and stay healthy. Over the years, I have continued to appreciate the positive impact that exercise has on our own well-beings. This became more obvious than ever as we weathered the COVID-19 global pandemic. I doubt many of you could argue the positive wellness benefits of being outdoors and breathing in fresh air, whether it be for a brisk walk, an adventuresome hike or a steady paced run, to name a few.
At some point amid the pandemic, I heard of an organization that decided to make their annual 5K walk/run benefit a virtual event rather than cancel it. I found this concept brilliant and something we might consider moving forward. What better way to connect our teams across the country. Our Marketing team performed the required research and soon our inaugural virtual 5K event was born.
Introducing "Making Strides for Girls in STEM": Our Virtual 5K Race
We believe hosting a virtual 5K has countless benefits that are well aligned to our mission to Turn Change Into Value®. Not only does a virtual 5K race serve to engage colleagues, clients or friends from near or far, it also promotes wellness and healthy lifestyle habits for those who participate. It encourages friendly competition for those involved and offers a strong sense of community and ultimately accomplishment.
The Importance of Encouraging Girls to Pursue STEM Careers
For those who know me, know I am passionate about helping young women gain interest in STEM by finding various ways to raise awareness in the field. I know firsthand the challenges and barriers that women face in pursuing STEM careers. Just ask an executive or business owner of a technology firm what their male to female ratio is in their IT departments and it is clearly obvious. This is why xScion supports STEM For Her, an organization dedicated to empowering young girls and women to pursue their dreams and future careers in STEM.
According to STEM For Her, women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce, and even fewer in certain fields like engineering and computer science. And yet, studies have shown that when girls are given the opportunity to participate in STEM programs, they are just as likely as boys to express interest in pursuing STEM careers. STEM fields are critical to the future of our society and economy, and it's essential that we encourage more girls to pursue careers in these fields. Here are some more statistics from the STEM for Her website that highlight why this is so important:
- Women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce, despite accounting for almost half of the overall workforce in the US.
- Women hold only 13% of engineering jobs and 25% of computer and mathematical science jobs.
- Girls who are exposed to STEM education early are more likely to pursue STEM degrees and careers later on. However, only 24% of high school girls are interested in STEM subjects.
- Women in STEM jobs earn on average 35% more than women in non-STEM jobs, and the wage gap is smaller in STEM fields than in non-STEM fields.
As you can see, there is a significant gender gap in STEM fields and it's important that we work to address this gap. By encouraging and supporting girls in STEM, we can not only help them succeed personally but also contribute to the growth and advancement of STEM industries as a whole.
In addition, girls bring unique perspectives and experiences to STEM fields that can lead to innovative solutions and advancements. By diversifying the STEM workforce and encouraging girls to pursue careers in these fields, we can ensure that our society is benefiting from the full range of talent and creativity that's available. Overall, I truly believe that STEM education and careers can be empowering and rewarding for girls and women, and it's up to all of us to support and encourage them in these pursuits.
Together, We Can Make a Difference in STEM Education for Girls and Women
That's why initiatives like our "Making Strides for Girls in STEM" virtual 5k race are so important. By raising awareness and funds for organizations like STEM For Her, we can help provide girls with the tools and resources they need to succeed in STEM fields. And what better way to do it than through the power of running?
The "Making Strides for Girls in STEM" virtual 5k race is open to everyone - runners, walkers, and even those who just want to cheer us on from the sidelines. It's a chance to come together as a community, support a great cause and maybe even challenge yourself to run a little farther or faster than you ever have before. And the best part is, proceeds from the race will go directly to STEM For Her.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for the "Making Strides for Girls in STEM" virtual 5k race today and let's make a difference for girls and women in STEM. Together, we can break down barriers, shatter glass ceilings and show the world that anything is possible - one step at a time.