Girls in STEM - 3 ways to encourage girls to love science
Posted on February 22 2022
Earlier this month, on the 11th February, was ‘International day of women and girls in science’, a day which aims to recognise the role of women within this field. It is organised by UNESCO to promote full and equal access and participation in science for all.
The UN highlights the need for a continued effort to remove barriers for women and girls in science. Across the world more girls are in school today than ever before, but it appears that they don’t always have the same opportunities as boys to complete and benefit from an education of their choice.
Too many girls and women are held back by biases, social norms and expectations influencing the quality of education they receive and the subjects they choose to study. Females are noticeably under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and consequently in STEM careers.
According to UNESCO only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women, and big differences are seen within STEM disciplines. For example, only 3% of female students in higher education choose information and communication technologies, 5% choose natural science, mathematics and statistics and 8% engineering, manufacturing and construction.
This difference is quite alarming, especially as STEM careers are often referred to as the jobs of the future, driving innovation, social wellbeing, inclusive growth and sustainable development. UNESCO has brought special attention to this issue as part of its efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls through education and encouraging girls and women to be leaders in STEM.
Here at MyTwirl we feel strongly about making sure our girls can achieve whatever they wish in their life and career.
Here's 3 ways to get girls to love science and explore the importance of STEM subjects in the world we live in.
START EXPOSING YOUR GIRLS TO STEM
We owe it to our girls to expose them to STEM fields, and to open up conversation about these areas of study, so it allows them to follow their hearts and their minds. Starting this exposure at a young age will help to combat some of the societal issues that influence career choices among young women and girls..
Correcting the negative perceptions that girls develop at a young age can lead them to embrace maths and science when they reach secondary school, rather than avoid subjects because of preconceived ideas. We must strive to create environments where maths and science is inviting to young girls. As long as boys and girls are equally exposed and encouraged in these subjects, those with talent and genuine interests will have the chance to develop this interest.
FIND WORKSHOPS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE COMMUNITY
The importance of the STEM fields are becoming more and more recognised as an area that needs encouragement in education and especially with young girls.
More and more workshops are popping up in and out of school that encourage young girls to have an interest in STEM fields. Look into options available locally and research programs your child can join - popular clubs like Brownies and Guides have started giving added attention to introducing girls to STEM. This has been really beneficial in motivating young girls to explore typically male-dominated fields.
STEM ambassadors often run activities at these groups, which are designed to help ignite a passion for maths and science in your little ones and encourage them to pursue them if they wish.
SHOW HER FEMALE ROLE MODELS AND HOW STEM IMPACTS THE WORLD
Nearly every aspect of society relies on some kind of STEM findings and methods - our doctors need medicine developed by scientists, even politicians need a background in political science. Teaching your young girls about the importance of STEM subjects as a route into a certain career is really important.
Learning about their options at a young age will set them up to make informed,mindful choices for their future. A good way to inspire your girls is to find role models as an example of females working in STEM areas. Role models provide young girls with the motivation to inspire them to pursue their dreams and to help interest them in considering a STEM career.
Some great role models you might like to tell your little one about include…
- Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green who led the race for a COVID19 vaccine
- Rosalind Franklin, the scientist who was crucial to the discovery of the double helix in DNA
- Mary Anning, the first paleontologist, and daring fossil hunter
- Jane Goodall, the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees
- Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize–winning scientist
- Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer.
As women become more prevalent in STEM careers, more and more young girls will start to recognise the additional career options that are open to them.
It’s our job to nurture their young aspirations and expose them to the opportunities that are out there. MyTwirl is passionate about inspiring our young girls to be whatever they want to be, so if your little one has yet to explore the wonderful world of STEM, why not make 2022 the year that changes?