WHY ARE SO FEW WOMEN AND GIRLS PURSUING CAREERS IN STEM?
Women and girls have been historically underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). A study from the University of Pittsburgh, tracking approximately 1,500 college-bound students over a decade, found that women had the highest scores on both the math and the verbal portion of the SAT. However, these women were more likely to pursue non-STEM careers after graduation despite their high scores. What can we do to encourage young women to pursue STEM?
THE IMPORTANCE OF ROLE MODELS
It turns out role models could be a key issue when it comes to women’s and girls’ lack of interest in STEM. A recent study focused on engineering students found that female students paired with female mentors felt more motivated, less anxious and were less likely to drop out of their courses. When it comes to raising visibility and fostering a sense of solidarity, a focus on the rich history of women in STEM can be a key tool for parents and teachers looking to inspire young girls to pursue STEM. From the film Hidden Figures’ focus on NASA’s forgotten women, to articles highlighting the myriad contributions women have made to STEM fields, highlighting the work of women who shattered the glass ceiling can be a powerful way to foster young girls’ interest in STEM.