You can’t fail to notice that today is International Women’s day and because of that today’s blogs post is from international women who are working in or encouraging women and girls in to STEM industries and subjects. For those that don’t know STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
It is globally acknowledged problem that there are just not enough girls studying these subjects so I have asked a number for their views for today’s post.
The question is how do we encourage girls and women into STEM subjects and industries? What are the solutions?
This is a great question and the very reason we are making “Fly Like a Girl.” I recently read a study in Science Magazine that found young girls are less likely to think their own gender is smart. The study also showed that this bias has an influence on the child’s future interest. If early on a girl believes that she is not smart enough to do math or science, then she may not consider a STEM field later in life. In order to change this narrative, it is crucial that girls and women see people like themselves, achieving great things in their fields. Girls need more female heroes that come from the STEM world. Our goal for “Fly Like a Girl” is to reveal the contributions women have made to aviation and bring to light the many women who are doing extraordinary work in aviation and STEM today. We hope that by sharing inspiring stories we will encourage more girls to get involved in STEM and aviation fields.
Katie McEntire Wiatt, “Fly Like a Girl” Director, Lakeland United States
To find out more about Fly Like a Girl:
Facebook: @flylikeagirlfilm Instagram: flylikeagirlfilm
To encourage more girls into STEM subjects more work needs to be done at Primary school level, well in advance of subject choices being made at higher education level. We need to inspire and capture the imagination of young people at an early age by improving their awareness and exposure to the many industries and roles available to them. If you first understand what interests an individual you can then tailor the careers advice to the opportunities available in that field, for example if they have a passion for technology talk about the future of projects in regard to 3D modelling and 3D printing. What could be more exciting than their ideas transformed into a visual model. This in my opinion is one way in which we can bridge the skills and gender gap for the future
Hollie Woodward, Project Manager VolkerWessles
Tackling unconscious bias in the teaching profession and the school yard would start to really get to the underlying problem. If deep down we don’t actually believe that there is a place for women in STEM, then young people are infected by that view. Even those who might be aspiring to a role will start to doubt themselves when subjected to mixed messages at a crucial time in their personal development (i.e. people say “of course you can do anything you want” but act as if it’s extremely difficult or inappropriate to consider it). Worse still is the way people have added an additional “rule” to their beliefs about Women in Tech, as if only certain types of girls are right for the industry.
Stephanie Morgan – Director of Learning Solutions at Bray Leino Learning @StephanieLandD
It shouldn’t be hard to get girls into STEM. Look at any group of girls hanging out together and you’ll likely see a bunch of young women who are smart, mature and terrifyingly confident. Even if they don’t profess to be into technology they’ll be voracious consumers of it and they’ll have a sophisticated technological skillset on top of their traditional school education that their mothers never had. We need to stop perpetuating the myth that STEM is for boys. Girls don’t need projects themed around fashion or make up and they don’t need their Raspberry Pi to come in pink with sparkles. A lot of girls recognise that technology is cool and they’re perfectly aware that they are equally as capable as their male counterparts when it comes to using, creating and manipulating content. We need to stop underestimating our young women and give them the means and opportunity to learn a variety of STEM skills on an even playing field. It’s essential that women are directly involved in the way science and technology progresses and just as important that girls know how vital it is for females to play a visible and meaningful part in that.
Emma Gibbs, Media Archivist and photographer
Emma Gibbs Photography @missemmagibbs
I think to encourage more young girls and women in tech they need to see women, doing technical jobs or things that involve technology as past times. My nieces are tiny at the moment but from the safety of cars they have seen me flying a drone, they will never question why girls can’t fly drones because they have seen me fly one. It is completely normal to them, as much as they see my brother in law cooking. Also parents encouragement is so important. I am very lucky that my Dad encouraged me when my sister and I were little he said girls you can do anything, anything that a boy or man can do and then told us how diesel engines work. I wish I had listened a bit more, but obviously that influence has had an affect on my career choices.
@thedrone_lass for twitter and instagram
” You can’t be what you can’t see” Marian Wright Edelman