Did you know that girls from the age of six start to consider themselves less intelligent than their peers? According to a study in the journal Science, girls from that age associate as “brilliant” in more than 60% only men and not women. It may seem silly, but it is not, it is evident that from an early age girls consider that to access professions for which you have to be “very intelligent” you have to be a man.
The consequence of this biased belief is that they begin to stop participating in certain activities associated with high intelligence such as science. This setback is even more pronounced if there are many science-minded baron boys in your class because the girls are beginning to feel intimidated. Now, we are facing a scenario in which scientific careers such as STEM professions are booming and will be the jobs of the future.
So it is time for educational agents, governments, and families to stand up to close the gender gap in education and promote the inclusion of girls in STEM careers. Because if Hedy Lamarr saw that even today only 28% of researchers are women, don’t you think she would be angry?
How to Encourage Girls’ Participation in STEM Careers
In this post, we are going to present you some tips that will help foster the interest of your daughters, nieces, sisters, or granddaughters in science to achieve together that the participation of girls in STEM careers increases.
1. It starts with breaking any gender stereotype.
Since children are very young, we must monitor our biased behavior towards them. Neither girls have to wear only pink nor do boys play only with cars. Giving them neutral toys or encouraging them to play with whatever interests them is the first start to an equal education.
We also have to watch our language and correct any stereotypes that they may see on television or hear while playing with others. For example, if they say that boys cannot have long hair or that girls cannot climb trees, theirs would be to counter those ideas with real examples like Daddy’s friend who has long hair.
2. Encourage interest in science through experiments, books, and games
As long as we are able to spark girls’ interest in STEM careers, we have already accomplished a critical part. And we can do that from a very young age. With a box of home experiments, a magnifying glass, they can solve mathematical problems in the supermarket, seeing the stars with a telescope, etc.
There are also very beautiful books with illustrations adapted for children that tell the lives of relevant women in the world of science such as Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, and many others. Reading always encourages curiosity.
3. Offer them examples to follow
A study by Gender Bias Without Borders shows that the representation on big screens of women scientists is only 12%. It has also been shown that girls who have female references in STEM careers are more likely to choose a profession in this field.
In this sense, it can help to talk with women in the circle of friends or family who have studied science and tell the little ones about their experiences. Of course, each and everyone has to study what they like the most, but if we manage to increase the interest of girls in STEM careers, we have taken a step towards gender equality by promoting the participation of women in the professions of the future.