5 Ways To Encourage Girls To Go For STEM
The future is STEM. Let’s encourage girls to go for STEM. This might seem extreme but the way the world is moving and the direction is taking tells us that career is STEM are what we will need most.
The world is going digital, many jobs will disappear but new jobs, especially in computer science, will emerge.
STEM will be the major source of needed skills for future generations.
With this thought in mind, we should encourage children both girls and boys to go for STEM. Children have to be taught to be curious, to ask questions, to follow their dreams and not to be afraid to learn more and to understand more irrespective of their gender.
Once again boys and girls can be equally brilliant or equally silly and this has nothing to do with the gender.
The myth that brilliance is gender related has been disproved and should be ignored once and for all. Let’s stop it and encourage girls to learn and to be daring.
Girls have to know that nothing is out of their reach! All they need is passion and determination to achieve any goals on which they set their mind.
How do we encourage girls to go for STEM?
1. Hey! Teachers! Make STEM topics exciting and encourage girls to go for STEM!
We know it is not only school responsible for the children’s education. The family and the environment make a huge difference as well.
But school is after all where all children should get equal education and opportunities. Not all children are lucky enough to have parents that are devoted to their well-being and encourage them to follow their dreams. Or that are willing to show them all possibilities the world can offer.
So, school it is! Teachers should encourage girls to do more, to dare more, to reach for the moon and beyond.
As a girl, I grew up in a small town in the South. My parents always believed that education was the top priority for their children. School came before anything else. As long as we were doing well in school, we were having also a lot of fun.
From 6th grade until college, I had two female math teachers. The first one was a scary woman. She was extremely good, but we all feared her. She was a very strict and straightforward woman. I am not sure I did well because I liked mathematics, or I did not want to incur in her wrath!
Whatever it was, I learned a lot and for me homework in mathematics was like a game I had fun playing.
The interesting thing was that both teachers saw that and came up with more exercises to challenge me and make it more fun. And they always praised me for my results!
2. Girls to go for STEM need role models
Whether my math teachers were role models I cannot really say. But what I can say is that I never thought for one minute that STEM was exclusive for men.
And I grew up in a family where parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins are all Master graduates in Law or Liberal Arts, with the exception of a few medical doctors and one geologist.
Girls need role models! Let’s stop talking only about the great male minds! Let’s advertise the great female minds that shaped the world.
We have plenty of examples of women who changed science, let’s talk about them!
Let’s give the girls female role models!
We need to be proud of the women who so far succeeded in a very male dominated STEM world. We should give them due credit.
3. Girls (and probably boys) in STEM want to have fun!
Who says that school has to be painful and dull? It needs to be taken seriously, absolutely yes! But school should be engaging, exciting and certainly fun!
All topics should be equally important, but new topics necessary in our life have to become a mandatory part of the school curricula.
In these times, how is it possible that school curricula still do not have computer programming as a mandatory topic to learn?
The world is going digital and we still have not understood the importance of computer science?
Some schools offer computer science as an extra curricula activity! Well, duh!
What is difficult to understand is that STEM can be a lot of fun!
Hand-on experiences can open a new world for young minds! Make mathematics and programming a game! Go for a walk and explain the world that surround us! Kids can see the beauty of a rainbow, and they will probably be fascinated by why we see the colors.
Or they would be excited to know why the sky is blue!
Or perhaps why every object falls to the ground? Follow Galileo and drop a feather and a stone and explain what happens.
Make it fun!
And not matter what, I do not see why girls should not be equally enthusiast and excited!
4. Create collaboration and not competition!
We need to teach children that everyone’s opinion is valuable. Diversity is important and can bring new perspectives.
Convince children that everything is a competition is not healthy!
We should teach boys and girls that collaboration works much better and never allow teams of only girls against teams of only boys!
Let’s not encourage gender separation! If they learn it as children, they will believe it as adults. Children learn bias from adults, they are not born with those!
I was the youngest of three children. Once my brother got as a Christmas present an amazing racing circuit with two cars remotely controlled. Already building it was part of the fun! My brother and the two cousins of his same age spent hours playing with it.
I was about 5 years old, or so my mother tells me. I went to her protesting that for Christmas I just received a doll whereas my brother got a much funnier present! She is a smart woman, and the story goes that she told me “as long as you promise not to break it you can play with the boys as well”.
Truth is I do not remember her telling me this, but I do remember play with the cars! I always chose the red car to race. To this day, I love driving and I love to understand how the car reacts, what is the physics behind even while I am driving!
5. Let’s teach children equity and equality
How long are we going to continue stimulate children in the old same way! Do girls really need to grow up thinking that they must be mother and look after babies and cook and take care of house related stuff?
Nothing wrong in wanting to have children as an adult woman, but is being a mother really incompatible with having a career in STEM? No, it is as compatible or incompatible as any other career.
I have a dream!
Let’s hope to see toys that encourage development of skills and not that make you think of babies and cooking when you are still a baby yourself and do not know any better!
I would like to see parents encourage equality at home. Boys and girls should share the same duties and chores.
Girls should know that they are as brilliant as boys and they can do anything!
It is important that children grow up understanding that diversity is an advantage! Teams should have boys and girls to come out victorious!
Girls should be appreciated and praised for their interest in anything STEM and certainly for thinking outside the box and outside the stereotypes the society has built for them!
By giving girls the freedom to spread their wings and fly, we give future generations a better world!
Let’s encourage girls to go for STEM!
Why are we scared to break the gender roles and stereotypes? Why can’t we admit that girls and boys are born without any of those explicit or implicit bias?
Alas children learn by example!