TOPIC 2: How to encourage young girls to study STEM? TOPIC 2: How to encourage young girls to study STEM?

The reasons that can influence a young girl to pursue a particular career path are multiple. In all cases, early socialization can make a huge difference; if girls do not receive enough encouragement to participate in STEM related activities since an early age, it can provoke a shift in their interest and confidence, which could influence them to turn away from the field.

What should we do to encourage girls?
 
  • Boost their curiosity about the world and allow them to explore and discover it: Make them comprehend that science takes place around them and that STEM subjects and skills can have relevant applications in their everyday lives. STEM education can also start in the household. Use their natural curiosity, creativity, and experimentation: Activities such as bricolage or gardening are based on science and technology and can be a way to acquire useful skills such as measuring and analysing, while having fun.
  • Boost their confidence, initiative and work-ethic. Allow them to embrace their knowledge and abilities. Challenge them in a way that will help them overcome any obstacles along their way to become succesful professionals.
  • Introduce them to role models and mentors who can offer guidance. Those should be role models with whom they can identify and that can make young girls stop feeling as outsiders in STEM fields. They can also offer academic guidance and teach them about the full range of career possibilities they could have acces to.
  • While many of this ideas can be carried out at school and in the household, promoting extracurricular projects in which all types of girls can easily acces is of vital importance. Are you currently participating in any of them or are you aware of any initiative that is of particular interest?

Strengthen girls’ engagement in STEM from a very early age and try to keep it while they are teenagers. During those years, girls will start to be able to make decisions that will, eventually, lead their academic life towards (or away from) studies or a career in the STEM field. In that sense, it is vital to guide them and to show them the connections between their educational choices and their possible future profession.

Questions

 Do you agree with the ideas showed above? Which other activities should we pursue to engage girls in STEM? Are you involved in any project related to Gender issues and Science? What is the best way to promote STEM among girls? Tell us about your own experience!

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