The dominant conversation about women in science, technology, engineering and math is an undeniably depressing one. Not only are women currently underrepresented in and discriminated against in these fields, but rates of girls choosing to enter STEM is on the decline, too. While raising awareness about this troubling reality is certainly necessary, framing it as a lost cause does little to actually convince girls and women to pursue these careers.
A crucial element missing from this conversation, therefore, is visibility about the positive experiences that plenty of female scientists, engineers and mathematicians do, in fact, have. These professionals didn’t just enter their fields to contribute to a better overall statistic of representation — they did so for personal reasons, and they are reaping the benefits.
Here are just a few women’s reasons for going into STEM — and their advice for women looking to do the same.