Across the country, you’ll notice more purple March 14 & 15 to celebrate the “Dress For STEM.”

Dress For STEM is a movement to raise awareness about the need for more women in
science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, including meteorology.

The date chosen for the annual event is March 14 in honor of Pi Day, a tribute to the mathematical constant, pi. Because Pi Day falls on a weekend this year, Dress For STEM will span across both Sunday, March 14 and Monday, March 15.

Dress For STEM is a grassroots effort created by a group of female meteorologists and their desire to encourage girls to pursue their passion for science, which is why you’ll see many of your favorite meteorologists wearing purple to show support.

Research indicates that while many children start thinking about STEM careers before the age of 11, the percentage of young girls interested in STEM declines in middle school, as a result of exposure to inaccurate gender stereotypes.

This leads to a lower proportion of women pursuing STEM careers later in life. Fewer than 10% of female college freshmen indicate an intension to major in engineering, math, statistics or computer science. Beyond college, women account for nearly half the U.S. workforce but only 28% of STEM careers. 

A 2018 Study published by the American Meteorological Society revealed that only 29% of all weathercaster positions are held by women, which was higher than the last two decades where earlier studies that showed that percentage at 25% or less over. That same study revealed that Females only made up 8% of chief meteorologist positions and less than 11% of evening shifts, lower than numbers in previous studies.

“Our goal is to use our collaborative purple attire as a conversation starter about the stark under-representation of women in STEM while simultaneously highlighting female STEM role models,” according to event organizer, Julia Leopold. “This year, we are shining a spotlight on female trailblazers who paved the way for the rest of us.”

Women in STEM, and anyone else who would like to join in solidarity, are encouraged to wear purple on March 14 and March 15. If you choose to participate, you are encouraged to share photos on social media by using the hashtag #DressForSTEM.