Research shows that by the first grade, young students seem to be embracing the stereotype that girls are not as good at robotics and programming as boys. Other recent reports have pointed to confidence as a major issue when it comes to female students and STEM – a study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that boys rated their abilities in math and science 27 percent higher than their female peers. That lack of confidence in girls seems likely to be a contributing factor towards decreased STEM opportunities for women. For example, the National Center for Women and Information Technology reports that women hold only 25 percent of computing related occupations.
While girls start internalizing the idea they aren’t as good at math and science at a young age, a recent report from the University of Washington provides a great approach for parents looking to combat STEM gender stereotypes. When 6-year-old girls participated in a computer programming activity involving robots, they showed more positive attitudes about their own STEM abilities. This study serves to underscore a point we’ve discussed before – when it comes to STEM education, getting an early start is key.
At Teza Technologies Misha Malyshev and team have been working closely with organizations to encourage children to develop an interest in STEM from an early age. Through the support of organizations such as Adler Planetarium and After-School All-Stars, we hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and coders.