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How Penn Foster is Breaking Barriers for Women in STEM

All throughout March, we’re celebrating women who 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). Here’s what Penn Foster is doing to help flip that narrative.

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Penn Foster

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. Despite time constraints, family obligations, or financial situations, women 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, they 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 adage and they’re finding traction amongst executive sponsorships, educators, and young women. 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? At Penn Foster, through flexible, affordable education opportunities, we’re striving to make effective STEM education more widely available to adults who may not have the time in their busy lives to attend in-person classes.

We’re driving awareness of women in STEM

As you’ll notice on this blog and our various social feeds, we’re spotlighting students and internal Penn Foster leaders who’ve made an impact in their field and studies. We’re lending our voice to the women in our community of students and faculty to show that YOU have the power to make change happen. We hope that by sharing our individual victories, we can cause a ripple effect, empowering a group of new leaders who together will shape our society.

We’re fostering leadership, celebrating our accomplishments, and striving for more

Women have made up a large portion of our dedicated team at Penn Foster for more than 100 years. Through a variety of training opportunities and a focus on continually encouraging women to take on leadership roles, we hope to empower the women who work for us and the students who enroll in our programs to take charge of their futures and careers on their terms.

We’re actively changing the narrative

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 underrepresented, leaving you clear and free to break down any mental barriers that may be holding you back.

By providing online technology focused classes in fields like IT support, coding, computer information systems, and other industries, women who don’t have the time or resources to attend a traditional school setting are able to take the first steps toward building new, rewarding careers – whenever they’re ready! In fact, many of our students have already begun to dominate traditionally male-dominated programs. These include:

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

With more accessible courses, we can only expect to see the same for our technology and computer programs over the next few years!

An accessible future with Penn Foster

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. You shouldn’t have to earn a four-year degree or work twice as hard as your coworkers to qualify for promotions. With our online programs, we’re striving to make credentials the focus, allowing women to build strong resumes and skills that can stand out no matter what career they hope to pursue!

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