Beyond Innovation

Over 2.8 million STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs are expected to go unfilled this year alone and those filled won’t be filled by women. While women continue to make gains across the broader economy, they remain underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders–just like in sports.

Though numbers are growing, only 27% of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just 18% of American computer-science college degrees go to women. And that’s in the U.S., where many college men proudly self-identify as “male feminists” and girls are taught they can be anything they want to be.

Advancing gender parity in the workplace requires that we start early and design programs to tap into the potential of young women to contribute further in this vital sector. Middle school girls in Nashville are learning STEM lessons through the context of sport thanks to our programs at Play Like a Girl. They also are mentored by professionals whose day-to-day work crosses the lines of STEM and sports.

To do this work, we’re continually developing our knowledge and partnerships through experiences like Beyond Innovation 2018 which brought together 200 global leaders from across the sports, tech, nonprofit, education, business, entertainment and development landscape, to create innovative cross-sector partnerships that use the global appeal of sport to advance STEM.

Former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color to go into space, Dr. Mae Jemison reminded us that we all have a responsibility to be beneficial to society as we are all connected and have all the answers we need to solve the world’s problems. The renowned physician, engineer, social scientist, entrepreneur and educator suggested that “hands on, hearts on, minds on” is “the best way to teach STEM.” And we agree.