- Fewer girls than boys enroll in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, clubs and college programs. Additionally, just a quarter of computer scientists are women, according to Girls Who Code.
- To spark a girl’s interest in STEM careers, educators should show how to use STEM skills to find solutions to real problems, according to eSchoolNews.
- Embedding classes like computer science into the regular school day — rather than as an elective — may allow more girls the opportunity to try these subjects, and expose them to such career pathways earlier in their school career.
Getting girls excited about STEM careers means sparking interests early, sustaining that excitement throughout their K-12 education, and ensuring the curriculum is taught in a way that’s inclusive of girls.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recommends, for example, that educators highlight that it takes time to master STEM subjects. This may help girls to avoid labeling themselves early as not good at math or science. AAUW also suggests finding more opportunities for girls to better their spatial skills, which is needed to succeed in STEM fields. These can include giving them time during the school day to draw, play with 3D computer games and even take classes where they build with their hands.
If the end goal is to bring parity for girls and boys in STEM fields, administrators must develop curriculum models that build paths all children can follow. Starting STEM classes early in a girl’s education can insure she has the tools, and mindset, to pursue a STEM career when she’s ready to make that choice.