Like many Latina women, they carry themselves full of pride and elegance following the example of all the strong women before them. Every mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and daughter has shaped their smile, their laugh, their attitude and their motivation for success to guide others for the future that’s waiting for them tomorrow.
20% of the United States Population are Latina women making up 1/5 of the United States population. Many would hope to see such strong women paving their way into American history and male dominated fields like STEM, but unfortunately only 1.9% of Latina women are in these fields.
The STEM Workforce is expanding and along with it, are more high paying jobs presented. There’s over 2.6 Million job openings in STEM fields and not enough people to fill those jobs.
So the question is, why aren’t there more Latin American women in STEM?
Jazlyn Carvajal, a Civil Engineering Major at MIT, is part of the 1.9% and wondered the same question before co-creating the program, Latinas In STEM, with her fellow classmates.
Being the first to attend college in her family and attending such a profound university as MIT, made her feel pressured into succeeding in her field. Carvajal faced many ups and downs through the field and even mentioned how she failed her freshman year at MIT. It wasn’t long until she overcame that and soon found comfort in a group of women, who are going through the same things.
“Well we all came from similar communities, right? Most of us are first generation Latinas-- We are probably the first ones to go to college and graduate from college and start careers,” said Carvajal.
Carvajal shares that many Hispanic communities are not focused on furthering education and are more focused into navigating how to live here in the United States and compared it to her family situation, in which her parents didn’t know anything about how to apply and what needed to be done for college.
“We knew that there was a need to not only educate our community, educate parents, educate students, but also to provide the support, as women working in these industries--we felt it, it’s 1.9%--WE FELT IT,” Informed Carvajal.
Latinas In STEM also empower women to not give up in the STEM field by providing a support network for women at the college and professional level.
“We are not alone, you know, okay we’re only 1.9%, we’re not alone and we’re gonna bring in more, we’re going to change that number...we need to get to that 8%, you know, so we are on par with the nations demographics,” said Carvajal.
Latinas In Stem mission is to inspire and increase the numbers of Latina women in the United States by reaching out to communities and educating parents from K-12 to push their children into considering a path in the STEM field.
Latina women are the future of this country and being a part of the Latinas In STEM is one step closer to being part of that bright future and many more to come.