When it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) studies, there is a gender gap, with far fewer girls than boys studying these disciplines. This is why it’s so important for parents to encourage their daughters to pursue STEM studies. However, this can be easier said than done. How can parents encourage girls in STEM and make the activities fun and accessible?
Here’s why girls lose interest in STEM
STEM is an area of study that men have traditionally dominated. Unfortunately, this has led to many girls believing that they are not capable of pursuing a career in the STEM field. While this perception can be difficult to change, understanding why girls don’t go into STEM can help parents and educators encourage them to do so.
There are many reasons why girls may not go into STEM. One of the main reasons is societal pressures and stereotypes that suggest girls aren’t as good at math and science as boys. This can lead to girls feeling less confident in their ability to succeed in STEM classes.
Additionally, some girls may face negative responses from peers or family members when expressing interest in STEM subjects. This gender bias has to stop!
Another reason is fewer women role models in the field. Girls need to be able to look up to successful women for inspiration and to motivate them to pursue their goals. Without such role models, it can be difficult for girls to see themselves succeeding in careers disproportionately held by men.
Finally, schools often need more resources to engage girls in STEM subjects. It might be that some girls don’t know all the opportunities available to them in science, tech, engineering, and math. Equal access is a must if we are to close the gender gap. This is possible through conscious efforts for gender equality in education, as well as mentorships and advocacy programs. Parents can encourage their girls to pursue these opportunities when possible.
Introducing fun STEM-based activities early
It is important to introduce STEM-based activities to girls from a young age, as it helps to foster an interest in these subjects and encourages them to explore them further. It is essential for parents and educators to make the activities fun and accessible for young girls. For example, introducing toddlers to technology can also open the door to science interests.
Setting up accessible experiments that are easy to understand and execute is a great way to get girls engaged in the process of science. Of course, choose age-appropriate activities.
The activities can help young girls gain a better understanding of these topics and begin to visualize their future adult selves in these fields. Rather than overcomplicating exercises, make sure they are simple, not intimidating, and tailored to the individual child’s level of understanding.
Create fun and accessible lessons
When it comes to getting more girls interested in STEM studies, it is important to look for lessons outside of school that are fun and accessible. Unfortunately, many schools fail to provide enough support or encourage girls to explore STEM, and it is up to parents to ensure that their daughters have the chance to try out activities in this area.
When looking for lessons, there are plenty of resources available. Many museums, libraries, and community organizations offer STEM-focused workshops and classes, as well as online activities and videos.
With various age-appropriate topics, such as coding, robotics, engineering, and astronomy, there’s sure to be something to spark a girl’s interest. Take a look at this video that explains engineering for kids, for instance, www.generationgenius.com/videolessons/what-is-engineering-video-for-kids/. It’s a creative way to expose girls to STEM topics.
Parents can also look for informal opportunities like STEM clubs or meet-ups in the community. These events allow girls to connect with others around their age who have similar interests. It is also an ideal environment for girls to ask questions and get help from more experienced students or mentors.
Not being judgemental
It is important for parents to be open-minded and supportive when it comes to encouraging girls to pursue a career in STEM. Girls tend to shy away from fields where traditionally they do not often see women at work. They may also feel intimidated if they face judgment or criticism from those around them.
To help girls go into STEM, it is important to encourage them without being judgemental. Old-fashioned views can discourage daughters from pursuing science and tech, as explained here, https://www.thejournal.ie/girls-science-technology-parents-1294783-Feb2014/. Thus, try not to make assumptions about their abilities, be understanding of their interests, and advocate for their success.
In addition, parents ought to be mindful of their language when discussing STEM topics with their daughters. Instead of using words like “nerdy” or “geeky,” opt for words like “smart” and “intelligent.” This language reinforces positive associations with STEM and can help girls feel more confident in pursuing a career in the field.
A few last words on STEM girls
Can today’s parents create a path for more leaders and scientists of tomorrow? Yes, I believe so. Parents can encourage their daughters to be the researchers, engineers, or mathematicians the world needs more of.