March is Women's History Month but on March 14, female broadcast meteorologists and many others are wearing purple to #DressforSTEM and raise awareness about the need for more women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
Female STEM professionals across the globe will wear purple attire as a conversation starter about the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. Women in STEM, and anyone else who would like to join in solidarity, are encouraged to wear purple on Monday, March 14, and share photos on social media using the hashtag #DressForSTEM.
Dress For STEM is a grassroots effort launched by a group of female meteorologists in 2016 to encourage girls to pursue their passion for science. Research indicates that the percentage of young girls interested in STEM declines in middle school as a result of exposure to inaccurate gender stereotypes. This translates to a lower proportion of women pursuing STEM careers later in life. Today, women account for nearly half the U.S. workforce but only 27% of STEM careers.
The annual “Dress For STEM” event has previously been held on March 14, coinciding with “Pi Day”, a tribute to the mathematical constant, pi. The date March 14 represents the first three numbers, 3.14, in pi, which appears in many mathematical formulas in math and physics.
Ellie Loustalot is a Central Coast enologist, a wine analysis professional, and has been surrounded by female scientists all her life. She told us, "I was a little girl going in the sciences, and I have a mother and a grandmother that are largely into science, so we were doing little science experiments when I was very young. And I mean, I would say, just go do whatever you want to do and go after it, go get into the sciences. I mean, it's an incredible way to look at the world. It's an incredible way to learn about the world. And it just opens up the landscape for you in ways that that otherwise it wouldn't."
In 1970, only 8% of STEM careers were held by women.
Anyone who wants to wear purple and participate is encouraged to share about it on social media using the hashtag #DressforSTEM