Women Who Seek to Re-Enter the STEM Workforce


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Women are outnumbered by men in many of the STEM careers that are currently available. Unfortunately, many women who choose to enter the workforce have complex needs and desires that involve leaving the field for a certain period. Once they leave, it becomes difficult for them to return to their STEM careers. They often feel as though they have fallen behind in their work experience and technical skills, and that they are no longer able to compete with the individuals that are just entering the field.

To many women, there is no greater joy in life than becoming a mother. Motherhood is tough and requires a lot of hard work and dedication. One of the biggest reasons women leave their professional careers is to become a full-time caregiver to their children. Some of these women choose never to return to their careers, while others who return fear that the time they have taken off will negatively impact their ability to re-enter and earn a fair income.


The Solution May Be Closer Than You Think

One of the priorities of STEM is the incorporation of technology. This should come as no surprise because the “T” in STEM may offer a solution. There are literally hundreds of ways to use technology to ensure that women who want to re-enter the work force can do so. The most prominent of these is through online learning.

Technology has come a long way. Technology has grown and evolved in ways that could have never been predicted 20 years ago. So, if you have taken some time away from your career and are skeptical about the quality of the education you will be learning online, your concerns are valid. The only way to get over this skepticism is to simply try it out and see what you end up learning. You only stand to increase your chances of reintegrating yourself back into the career you desire.


Who Offers a Quality Online Education?

Deciding to return to the work field can be a little harder initially. Even though you may have decided that you would like to receive an online education, you still must find an accredited institution that offers the types of supplemental courses you need to successfully “catch up”. Here are just a couple of options you may want to consider in your search:


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange provides a quality education to anyone that is willing to work for it. Currently, MITx offers free courses to those who qualify for certain programs.


Harvard University
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You have most likely heard of Harvard as it is one of the most highly respected learning institutions in the United States, and even the world. You may be surprised to find out that, like MITx, Harvardx also offers free courses to those who qualify.


Why Does It Matter If Women Re-Enter the STEM Workforce?

It is important that women who are interested in re-entering the workforce are given the opportunity to do so. While the careers and STEM learning opportunities are growing for students, the number of people that enter the STEM workforce after their school years is quite low. Re-integrating individuals with the knowledge, the skills, and the desire to fill these positions is essential to their own success and the success of our greater economy.

The age old saying, “if there is a will, there is a way” runs true for those who have left their careers and would like to return. It does not matter why women leave their professional STEM careers. Maybe they leave for medical reasons, for family reasons, or for other personal reasons. The important thing is there are people who want to support women who wish to return to their careers. So, it is important to know you can return if you want to because you are wanted, you are needed, and you are important more than you might realize.

It is okay if you are feeling disappointed and defeated by this stage in your quest to return to your former career, particularly in the STEM fields. You are not alone and at no point do you have to feel as though you are the only person that has ever experienced this feeling. Just look at Ruchi Garg. Ms. Garg took six years away from the STEM field to care for her young children. By the time she decided to return, she doubted her skills and her desirability in the field that she loved so much. Ruchi Garg ended up taking an MITx programing course and supplemental internship and was reintegrated into the STEM field with little to no trouble at all.


Women are often the subject of STEM education because they are fiercely outnumbered by their male counterparts. Sadly, this means that many companies are missing out on women’s unique perspectives, talents, and skills. Companies are actively seeking to diversify the types of people that work for them because they understand that doing so will give them the best chance of coming up with competitive ideas and projects. While it can be inevitable that women choose to leave the workforce, it is possible to gain them back with the right tools and education when they are ready.

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