Women are hugely underrepresented in the STEM fields. Helping young girls see themselves in those fields, and maintaining interest would drastically reduce the gap.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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According to Ecology Project International, even though women make up 50% of the population, they still only represent about 30% of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce. Minority women comprise fewer than one in ten employed scientists and engineers.
"By age 15, girls begin to lose confidence in STEM subjects, unlike their male peers. By age 16, only 25% of girls asked to draw scientists will picture a female," points out Ecology Project International.
Women seem to be facing unique issues when they are pursuing STEM careers and education. As a consequence, many students lose their confidence. Some of the struggles they face include:
-A lack of recruitment by higher education and influential corporations.
-Stereotypes and implicit bias.
-A fixed mindset.
The good news is that if women join forces, they can help eliminate these obstacles. Ecology Project International identifies five clear actions to help sustain girls' interest in STEM.
1. Celebrate female role models
Many young girls that become interested in STEM don't know a woman in this path near them, or they have even never heard about female mentors in these careers. There are good role models like Katherine Johnson, astrophysicist and mathematician, Sylvia Earle, biologist and explorer author, and Rosalind Franklin, chemist and DNA pioneer.
2. Provide practical experiences
74% of teen girls say they're interested in STEM, yet ten say they don't get enough hands-on practical experience. If you are a teacher, take students to see STEM in action.
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3. Be an active mentor
According to the organization, when educators talk to girls about STEM fields and actively encourage them, girls become more interested in these subjects. When you can connect a STEM subject to real-life application, it's easy to see how these fields create positive change in the world.
4. Show the real-life connection
Ecology Project International suggests that women may choose non STEM careers because they didn't have a role model that motivated them growing up. An excellent way to start teaching about this subject's importance is by promoting the importance of technology to resolve local issues and impact their community.
5. Promote confidence in STEM disciplines
One way to effectively promote confidence is through resilience. It's essential to teach young girls that struggle is an integral part of learning. Some girls even have better results after they persevere and don't have success the first time. As well as males can overcome intellectual challenges, young girls can also find creative solutions.
Science conservation and the future of the planet can only be positively affected by engaging a diverse range of people. Don't hesitate to celebrate and engage more girls in STEM.
Strong skills in these fields open many doors to professionals and college students in their career paths. The joy and love of science can help anyone to develop their full potential. Helping women to achieve those goals can build and inspire future generations of girls in STEM.