NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - There's a mission at Stephen F. Austin State University to increase college enrollment of women who want to pursue STEM-related careers.
The initiative to raise scholarship money and awareness was launched Thursday with a style show and luncheon. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Dr. Nancy Dickey was the special guest at the event. She's a 1972 graduate of SFA who later became the first woman to be elected president of the American Medical Association.
Now a professor at Texas A&M State University, Dickey compared the challenges of 40 years ago to today for women entering the STEM disciplines.
"We have virtually no field that women haven't reached, just not in substantial numbers," Dickey said. "We are able to get into academia, neurosurgery, engineering, but we still get paid 80 cents on the dollar, compared to men even in those kinds of fields, so the challenges are not dissimilar. I think we've lowered the barriers a bit. We just got a lot of work yet to do."
Currently 74 percent of STEM workers are male. Only 26 percent are female.