Friday, women all over the world celebrated for the first time Women in Engineering Day, this day aims to inspire women worldwide to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
In the last ten years, more and more women have shown interest in STEM fields but the number has hit a standstill since the early 2000s. Women represent 47% of the overall workforce, only 23% of those jobs are STEM field related and only 18% of computer science graduates today are women. The National Council of Women was created in 1914 to get women into work as men joined the army forces, this was when women changed the face of engineering forever. In 1919 women were forced to give up their jobs to the returning men, where the representation of women in engineering was never recovered.
29-year-old Sheasta Waiz was born in a refugee camp and came to the United States from Afghanistan after her escape. Sheasta is the first certified female pilot from Afghanistan as well as first generation in her family to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Sheath started the nonprofit “Dreams Soar” to inspire girls to explore STEM professional fields. She is currently flying around the world making 30 stops in 18 different countries to encourage women to promote STEM Education.
Her journey starting and ending at Daytona Beach Airport, some of her stops will include Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Along with her journey, she will also be raising money to provide scholarships for young girls seeking education in aviation.
“Young girls don’t know about these careers and they don’t have a role model that inspired them to want to pursue engineering or STEM fields.” Sheasta says.