Science and engineering play a huge role in how we learn about the world and develop ways to advance our well being. While the United States is known for its higher education compared to other leading nations, we lack in educating engineers and scientists. One of the big reasons that the United States has fallen behind in science and engineering is that not enough is being done to encourage females to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It is important that we find ways to encourage females to explore careers in STEM.
Introducing STEM to Young Girls
Exposing young women to STEM fields and encouraging them to explore their interests within the fields is important. Parents and educators should work to correct any negative misconceptions that girls may develop regarding math and science. School administrators and educators should also create environments in which science and math programs are more appealing to females. When girls and boys are exposed to science and technology equally, they will be able to develop their interests and turn them into a career.
Get Girls to Participate in Special Programs
Workshops are continuing to be created to encourage young girls to get interested in STEM fields. There are programs available both in school and out of school. These programs help girls understand the different opportunities that will be available to them if they pursue a STEM major in school.
In addition to STEM programs in schools, more programs are becoming available in communities with the aim of introducing girls to STEM. National clubs such as the Girls Scouts of the USA have been working to introduce more girls to STEM fields. They have improved their focus on motivating young women to learn more about fields that are typically male dominated. There are also many organizations and companies that offer internships, allowing females the chance to learn more about the different STEM fields. Many companies also offer career days and job shadowing programs in which people interested in a specific field actually shadow a person already working within the field. This allows people to see what a typical day is like in a particular career.
Provide Girls With Mentors
Mentorship is an invaluable tool with a good mentor helping to build confidence which in turn translates to career satisfaction. Mentors should be capable of leading young women towards success and be willing to take an interest in the long term advancement of the person being mentored. Finding a good mentor can be a huge help to career strategy, especially for women in traditionally unbalanced work environments such as engineering.
With technology these days, you have access to vast amounts of information at your fingertips. There are many resources available online for girls and women interested in STEM fields. Many of these resources allow you to learn a great deal about your field of interest including career opportunities and what it is like to be a woman in the particular profession. The Society of Women Engineers, Association of Women in Science, and the Association for Women in Mathematics, in addition to many other professional organizations are good places to find information on educating young women. As the prevalence of women in STEM careers continues to grow, more young females will begin to realize all of the career opportunities available to them.
Learn More About Girls in STEM
- The Society of Women Engineers – Learning
- The Association for Women in Mathematics Programs
- Women in Technology International
- Research on Engaging Girls in STEM
- The White House – Women in STEM
- Getting Girls Interested in Science
- Girls Inc. Operation SMART
- How to Engage Girls in Science
- Inspiring Girls to Pursue Careers in STEM
- Encouraging Girls in Math and Science – What Works
- Effective STEM Programs for Adolescent Girls
- Girl Scouts Series – Imagine STEM