Recognizing the complexity of challenges marginalized populations confront is essential to achieving health equity for Metro West and Greater Worcester. The lack of exposure young Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) females receive to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines is something that is frequently disregarded.
We can break the loops of health inequalities that continue in their communities and open up a world of opportunity by addressing this disparity. Our main objective at Girls Inc. is to provide extensive STEM programming that leads to long-term beneficial health outcomes through our Eureka! STEM and Leadership program.
The underrepresentation of BIPOC women in STEM fields and the difficulty in obtaining higher education are signs of structural obstacles that go beyond the classroom. In particular, women who identify as Latina make up 6% of the STEM field and women who identify as Black make up 5%. Understanding the intersections of racism, career possibilities, and education is crucial as we work toward health equity.
STEM education promotes girls’ health
Research repeatedly demonstrates that exposure to STEM education is associated with improved problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and worldview. These abilities are not only necessary for success in STEM fields, but they also provide the groundwork for people to make wise health decisions.
The role STEM exposure plays in promoting innovation in healthcare is one of the main reasons it is essential to health equity. BIPOC populations may experience specific health concerns that may go unrecognized due to a lack of representation in research and development. Encouraging young BIPOC girls to pursue STEM careers can lead to a variety of opportunities, including more representation in public health fields, different perspectives, and creative solutions that can improve community health outcomes.
Increasing the proportion of BIPOC women in STEM fields would also help to break down barriers to gender pay parity and serve as a spark for removing obstacles that prevent marginalized groups from accessing structural determinants of health.
Economic empowerment is intrinsically linked to health equity, as financial stability enables individuals to access healthcare, increases preventative factors against financial abuse, improves access to nutritious food, and increases likelihood of sustaining a safe living environment.