Girls in STEM Hurdle: Girls Need to Feel Like They Belong
Synergis is one of the oldest Autodesk Education Partners in the country. We have been working with schools and teachers to prepare each generation of engineers, designers, and architects. Over the years, we watched the incline of technology in the classroom and tools to help students learn real-world skills. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields have all made significant changes in the past few decades, however we still notice the perpetual unbalance of boys versus girls, especially in k-12 classrooms. For many years, some science alluded to the differences in the brains among the sexes, but HuffPost ImpactX’s recent article, “For Girls in STEM, Belonging, Not Brain Structure, Makes the Difference”, points to a girl’s belonging and acceptance in a classroom, rather than intellectual ability.
Although there are some physical differences like size, both males’ and females’ brains show similar ability to process STEM information. So why don’t girls choose more STEM related classes? According to a report released in June by the National Girls Collaborative Project, female and male students “do not significantly differ in their abilities in mathematics and science, but they do differ in their interest and confidence in STEM subjects.” You can see some of the results of that report here.
What does this mean? It means we need to find ways to make girls feel more comfortable taking positions and learning courses in industries that are often seen as technical and scientific. There are currently many organizations and companies currently working on these ideas every day. Check out some of these sites we like:
- National Girls Collaborative Project
- Franklin Institute – Girls in STEM
- HuffPost – Girls in STEM
- For Girls in Science – (Weekend and summer camps)
- GoldieBlox (STEM-based toys and gifts)
- VEX (Robotics)
So what can you do? Volunteer or support one of the organizations that are attracting young girls to STEM careers. You can mentor, teach, donate, attend fundraisers, and more. If you desire to be a mentor, let us know. Our schools are always interested in having mentors and speakers in their classrooms.