Giving Compass' Take:

• Women who participate in STEM mentorships for girls can expand opportunities in strengthening and diversifying the STEM workforce. 

• How can donors help increase access to these mentorships for girls across various school districts? Why is it critical to diversity STEM employment pipelines?

• Read more about making a difference as a STEM mentor. 

As Saneeya Khan looks around at her workplace, she doesn’t see many people who look like her. Khan works as a UX designer, and says her industry is male-dominated—a fact that hasn’t changed much since she switched over from graphic design for the new challenges and opportunities that UX presented.

“I think the number one reason that women fall out of STEM is because they get in the workplace and find that it’s a very masculine-dominated field, and that there’s a lot of office politics to deal with,” says Khan, who adds that despite the number of women working in technical careers, very few of them hold senior-level positions within their respective industries. “Most of the tech leads in my office are men, and we have one head female software developer. That’s about it.”

As a teen, Khan taught herself Photoshop and is now focused on helping girls follow her lead and create successful STEM pathways for themselves as a mentor for ListoAmerica, part of the Clubhouse Network, which provides after-school mentoring opportunities in underserved communities.

In the business world, mentors are trusted confidantes who share wisdom, support, and knowledge over an extended period. Working with a “mentee,” they’ve likely already been through the ringer, so to speak, and can offer tips and advice that help their protégés avoid making the same mistakes they did.

Because girls “don't know what they don't know,” so to speak, mentorships can open them up to new opportunities they may not have had access to. They can also help keep more of them interested in technical education and related career opportunities.

Read the full article about STEM mentorships for girls by Bridget McCrea at EdSurge