For sure, girls and women are underrepresented in STEM society. Or underestimated? In the meantime, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is more than ever a hot topic today. According to the U.S. Department of Education, college graduates with majors in scientific areas of studies earn on average $15 500 more than non-STEM majors - it is a taste of things to come. Entire states and national organizations recognize the need for STEM involvement into the economic prosperity of society. New jobs are opening up, the whole new industries full of opportunities to grow.
So how to diminish the gender gap in this field and empower young girls to prosper in STEM? Let’s figure it out.
1. First push
Parents are the first ones to make a child engaged. They are the first for a kid to open up the doors of opportunities to this world and the ones whom children wish to be alike. The influence of a child’s home life cannot be underestimated in how it impacts their in-school and future achievements.
There are several reasons why it is yet not so popular among the female audience. Experts say that there is a gender gap in STEM for the most part due to gender stereotypes and bias.
2. Problem-solving and analytical skills
The very foundation to succeed in fields of technology and engineering is the ability of problem-solving and analytical thinking. Looking from another angle, if you want to develop the above-mentioned set of skills in a kid, STEM is a vast and great stage to master them all. So like everything in our interconnected world one affects the other.
Interestingly, it looks like young girls in their early childhood have problem-solving abilities and analytical skills not lagging from their fellows who are boys. It is not uncommon when girls outperform boys in those times.
Moreover, no doubt that critical thinking and problem-solving, reasoning and analytical skills are must-have for everyone who wishes to be equipped and properly prepared to withstand the competition in a global marketplace.
3. Take action early
Studies show that girls lose interest in math and science during middle school. Thus, it is greatly important to encourage girls to investigate the world of science, technology, engineering and math at a very young age.
The survey from Microsoft tells the exact age when young girls lose abruptly their interest in STEM - it happens approximately at the age of 15. Girls start to feel less confident due to social expectations and perceived gender roles. So it is mostly not because of the common belief that girls are not great-achievers in math and science, but rather the appalling probability that with the same abilities, compared to boys, they are likely to give up.
NB A psychological fact is that habits and interests developed in the early childhood will maintain through the whole life and they are very difficult to change. So take action.
4. Tell that science can be applied in real-life
It is heavily important to show a child that STEM is not merely dry facts and textbooks to read. Instead, let them experiment how the material can be applied in real-life situations. Let them exercise what they learned.
Researchers say that girls tend to like to understand how things work, to help people, solve problems, do hands-on activities and ask questions.
Tell them that they can make a difference in the world if they know how it works.
5. Think of famous women got inspired
It is easier to approach if you see successful examples. History depicts few but very interesting examples of women who excel in STEM areas, remarkably and proudly.
Do you know that instructions for the first computer program were written by a woman called Ada Lovelace?
She was one of the earliest computer pioneers and also the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the famous British poet. At her mother's insistence, tutors taught her mathematics and science. Being gifted mathematician, she published an article in 1843 with her thoughts on how codes can be created on a machine. Ada is often considered to be the first computer programmer.
Encourage girls with good examples of women in STEM.
Finally, girls love STEM!
One of the amazing findings of Girl Scouts Research Institute was that girls say that they are interested in STEM subjects. 74% of the sample group are showing interest in science, technology, engineering, and math to some extent.
We all have food for thought. As parents and teachers, be as much supportive as you can, and your faith in your young explorers who untiringly asks questions about the world will be the best thing you can do for them. There is no horizon for talented people and you can see, the enthusiasm and natural curiosity of children are endless. Empower girls in STEM and you will see the inherent tremendous potential of our young girls and boys.
Robo Wunderkind is a gender-neutral coding toy and coming back to the question “where to start for the youngest?”, Robo Wunderkind is the best answer. The smallest girls and boys enjoy learning with our robots because they are too young to drill books but smart enough to learn with laughter while they play.