It’s 2018 and while we’ve sent people to the moon, made tiny computers that fit into your pocket, and are well on our way to mapping the human genome, we still haven’t closed the gap on gender equality. All throughout March, we’re celebrating women who despite time constraints, family obligations, or financial situations, have emerged as leaders of their community, but the fact is that while women make up 47 percent of all jobs in the United States, we only account for 24 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)*.

There’s a newly emerged market for entrepreneurs looking to flip the script on this well-worn addage and they’re finding traction amongst executive sponsorships, educators, and young females. Companies like Girls Who Code, GoldieBlox, and Girls Inc., all aim to encourage young girls into STEM disciplines but what are we doing to decrease the gender gap for adults?

Well, here are a few things we’re doing at Penn Foster to help:

We’re Driving Awareness.
As you’ll notice on this blog and our various social feeds, we’re spotlighting students and internal Penn Foster leaders all month. We’re lending our voice to the women in our community of students and faculty to say look around you at what is being achieved by your peers. YOU have the power to make change happen. We hope that by sharing our individual victories, that we can cause a rippling effect of new leaders who together will shape our society.

We’re Fostering Leadership, Celebrating Our Accomplishments, and Striving for More.
The Women’s Leadership Committee at Penn Foster works year-round to provide an outlet for females within Penn Foster to continuously develop leadership and activism outside of their daily roles. Comprised of female representatives from across the company including, finance, strategy and analytics, education, student success, marketing, and creative, our collective expertise and laser-focus on empowering female leadership gives us the power to change the culture here at Penn Foster. In the past year we’ve hosted talks on improving communication, started a mentorship program at Penn Foster, and developed leadership skills that will last a lifetime.

Here are some stats about female leadership at Penn Foster:

  • 48% of all managers at PF are female
  • 50% of Senior Managers and above (think C-suite, VPs, Directors, and Senior Managers) are female
  • 32% of our IT department is female
  • 45% of our Finance, Accounting, Strategy and Analytics departments are Female

We’re actively changing the narrative.
You may not realize it but at Penn Foster, 75% of our student body is comprised of women who are taking their education and career future into their own hands. Becoming a Penn Foster student automatically enters you into a cohort of goal-chasing, career-oriented, self-driven people. Our gender demographics look a little different than you might expect and we suspect that being a distance learning school actually benefits our female demographic. Ever walk into a room and realize you’re the only person of your demographic? Even if everyone else isn’t aware of the metaphoric elephant in the room, you may be. Learning online can alleviate some of the stress of breaking into a market where you’re under represented, leaving you clear and free to break down any mental barriers that may be holding you back.

Here are a few of the traditionally male-dominated programs that have a predominantly female student body:

  • Criminal Justice: 66% Female
  • Accounting and Finance: 81% Female
  • Business: 71% Female

So, while some say the future is female, and for Penn Foster, females certainly are making a lasting impact regardless of traditional gender stereotypes, we’re looking for a future that is equal. A future that looks past gender at the person’s drive and passion as indicators of success.