Why hundreds of female meteorologists are donning purple for Pi Day
By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
March 14, 2018, 3:51:40 PM EDT
Weather broadcasters from across the country will once again reunite on Pi Day to encourage the involvement of women and young girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
However, for the third annual #DressForSTEM, local and national female meteorologists are doing away with “The Dress” and instead invite people of all backgrounds to join them in wearing purple clothing on March 14.
Photos of meteorologists matching in the famous dress originally went viral in December 2015 and later merged with Pi Day, which celebrates the mathematical constant of 3.14.
“We realized that we were limiting it to just ourselves when there are so many other STEM careers,” said AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Julia Weiden, who originally proposed the idea of female broadcasters donning the same dress.
The goal of this year’s #DressForSTEM differs from previous years in that it aims to encompass women in STEM fields beyond just broadcast meteorology.
“We figured we want to expand and let everyone get in on the fun, so this year, we decided to ditch that dress,” Weiden said.
Women in STEM careers
"Girls and women think differently than men, in a good way, and have their own set of experiences to bring into the field," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Spamer. "With these unique female perspectives, there could be new innovations and breakthroughs in a whole host of fields."
Women comprise nearly half of the workforce, yet hold only 24 percent of STEM jobs, research has shown. This has remained the case in recent years, despite the fact that college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce, according to the United States Department of Commerce.
Happy #dressforSTEM day! To support this cause, we join our good friend @JuliaWeiden by wearing purple. This is her brainchild to help further the cause to get more women into #STEM careers! @PatrickEllisWx pic.twitter.com/lvW8D1iwpG— Joy Redmond (@JoyRedmondTV) March 14, 2018
Research has also revealed that women are less likely to enter and more likely to leave business roles in tech-intensive industries, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit organization focused on expanding opportunities for women.
In the male-dominated field of broadcast meteorology, a mere 8 percent of chief meteorologist positions are held by women, according to the American Meteorological Society.
Female meteorologists in support of the national #DressForSTEM movement hope to see the numbers grow across all STEM fields.
“I've been fortunate enough to work with a great blended team,” said AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Brittany Boyer. “But I have seen stations that only have a male-dominated team, and you just question why there are four or five men when you can have some women mixed in.”
Encouraging young girls, women
“I think, in a lot of cases, girls tend to typically outperform boys in math and science at young ages,” Weiden said. “But once they get to high school, there’s this divide that happens where girls who are good at math and science decide, 'No, I don't want to pursue that as my career.'"
In higher education, although women in 2013 earned just over half of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, their participation in these areas significantly differed by specific fields of study, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project.
Women earned 17 percent of computer science degrees, 19 percent of engineering degrees and 43 percent of mathematics degrees, statistics showed.
Meteorologists explain why we should ditch the outdated term 'weather girl'
International Women's Day 2018: AccuWeather presses for progress
Female meteorologists explain why diversity is crucial
“Getting into the STEM field can be really challenging,” Boyer said. “There are times when you're going to want to give up, but don't give up!”
Today I join female meteorologists across the country in wearing purple & celebrating a #STEM career on #PiDay. Thankful for this journey & for the mentors who helped get me here. May young girls everywhere feel supported to follow their dreams! #DressForSTEM 💜 pic.twitter.com/7jiMrIdxjo— Anne Elise Parks (@anneeliseparks) March 14, 2018
AccuWeather meteorologists aim to encourage young girls and women to pursue whichever field fuels their passion, whether it be within STEM or other areas.
“They should choose something they're interested in and go for it, and not hold back because what they want to study maybe isn't STEM-related,” said AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Laura Velasquez.
“Man or woman, I want them to just study something and get involved in something that they really enjoy and feel strongly about,” she added.
"One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to show girls how fun and rewarding that science can be," Spamer said. "Once they grasp onto that joy, they just need the reassurance that they can keep up with the boys."
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 1:55:00 PM EDT
The Mississippi River is running high and swiftly, causing problems for some companies and pilots who navigate tons of cargo -- and experts say consumers could pay the price.
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 11:21:25 AM EDT
Following weeks of downpours, dry and warm weather will arrive just in time for Glastonbury 2019.
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 1:29:27 PM EDT
Potentially damaging thunderstorms are poised to cause trouble in portions of the Plains and Mississippi Valley this week as high heat and humidity expand across the central and eastern United States.
Millions to swelter as heat wave builds from Madrid to Paris; Berlin to get brief reprieve at late week
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 10:11:26 AM EDT
As the heat builds, a potentially dangerous heat wave will grip parts of western Europe into this weekend.
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 10:57:14 AM EDT
SpaceX founder Elon Musk had called it the most challenging launch ever for his company — and several aspects of the launch will go down as first ever in the world of space missions.
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 9:41:33 AM EDT
A tropical disturbance, named Dodong in the Philippines, is moving northward across the West Pacific and will bring the potential for flooding and other impacts to Japan this week.
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 9:23:28 AM EDT
As the quarterfinals approach at the 2019 Women's World Cup, a dangerous heat wave will add another hurdle for the players and teams hoping to lay claim to the title of best in the world.
Weather News - June 25, 2019, 1:15:58 PM EDT
Now that summer is officially underway, Mother Nature is cranking up the heat, and several major U.S. cities will see the mercury soar well into the 90s Fahrenheit.