1. Talk more about women in STEM
In several studies, when children were asked to draw a mathematician or scientist, girls were twice as likely to draw men as they were to draw women. Boys almost universally drew men, often in a lab coat. Subconscious images of males in STEM start at an early age. This may be one explanation why girls enter STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—at dramatically lower rates than boys.
2. Provide Engaging STEM Activities
One way to get girls excited about STEM is to actually make STEM fun to learn. Hands-on application of textbook learning will help with getting girls engaged and passionate about STEM.
One way to incorporate Hands-on learning with STEM curriculum is with STEM Kits.
You can see our interactive STEM kits here.
3. Reinforce the statement "Girls can"
Too often women are excluded in the conversation about historical scientists and engineers who have contributed to the STEM field and society. Start to incorporate more female STEM role models int he STEM discussion to enforce the idea that girls can have a STEM career.
Below are examples of women in STEM:
Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African-American mathematician. Her calculations as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first U.S. manned spaceflight!
Roberta Bondar was the first female astronaut in Canada. She was also the first neurologist in space! She spent over a decade as NASA's head of Space Medicine.
“I want to reach girls and tell them they don’t have to limit themselves to traditional jobs, like teachers. Especially for girls from my community, they have a very limited idea of what’s out there,” Ms. Bakarian says. “I want to become an example.”
4. Encourage girls to describe themselves differently: "Inventive" vs. "Creative"
We limit the way girls perceive themselves when we use words like "creative", or "sensitive". Instead of calling her "creative" or "imaginative", try "inventive" or "determined". While she may have all of these attributes, when we use words that re-enforce positive mechanical, intellectual, and hands-on skills that girls posses - we give them the confidence to purse those skills further and develop them.
While calling her picture "creative" might inspire her to draw another, by saying she is "inventive" and encouraging a physical development of that drawing - you can help her realize her ability to create, design, and invent. Small phrases can influence the way girls perceive themselves, and can potentially have an impact on whether or not they envision themselves as a "girl who has the skills for STEM".
5. Show Girls Where STEM Exists in The Workplace