How to encourage and support girls' interests in science, technology, engineering and math.
It is well documented that women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Studies show that a high percentage of young girls are interested in STEM topics, but that interest dwindles as these girls grow older. Far fewer young women choose STEM majors in college and even less pursue STEM careers.
The DNA of a “STEM girl” sets her apart. Compared to those who don’t like STEM, STEM girls have a higher interest overall in academics, including non-STEM subjects like social studies and foreign languages. They have higher confidence in their academic abilities and are better able to grapple with adversity and overcome obstacles.
How do we encourage young girls and cultivate an interest in STEM? How can we help them maintain that enthusiasm so they feel they can choose a STEM career? Research indicates that the key is to provide girls with hands-on STEM experiences to help encourage curiosity.
“Hands-on STEM experiences” might sound intimidating. Do I need to memorize the periodic table with my STEM girl? Read my old calculus textbook with her? No, it isn’t quite so complicated. There are lots of hands-on opportunities out there – you just have to know where to look!