The past three weeks I’ve posted a series about women in STEM. Even in today’s world, there is so little female representation in science, technology, engineering, and math due to many various factors. It's essential we help our teenage female students realize there is a place for them in STEM.
An interesting way to look at women in STEM is through an international lens. The differences around the world might surprise you!
In case you missed it, check out Women in STEM: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to learn more about why these gender gaps exist and how to help our female students close the gap!
How Location in the World is a Factor
I just read a fascinating article from The Atlantic that made some shocking realizations about women in STEM in the world. Basically, in more progressive countries like the US, where gender equality is greater, there are much fewer women in STEM than in countries where males and females are not considered equal.
The article says Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries in which boys are significantly less likely to feel comfortable working on math problems than girls are.
Shocking, right?! You would think that greater gender equality in society would equal greater gender equality within STEM fields. Here is one theory- “...it could have to do with the fact that women in countries with higher gender inequality are simply seeking the clearest possible path to financial freedom. And often, that path leads through stem professions.”
This tells us that there’s something in liberal societies nudging women towards careers other than science, technology, engineering, and math, and vice versa in less liberal societies. The article shares other theories and findings; give it a read if you have a chance!
Three Inspiring Women in STEM
One way to pique our teen students’ interests in STEM is by sharing some inspirational women in various science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Bonus points if the girls can picture themselves in these roles, (One of the many reasons why diversity is important).
So, this week, I’m sharing 3 young, modern-day women who have made their way into STEM fields.
At a young age she founded ProjectCSGIRLS, a tech and computer science competition for middle school girls. This organization has chapters all around the world.
According to Huffington Post, Pooja said, “I saw female friends turn away from pursuing computer science because of the negative stereotypes surrounding the field, and the lack of female role models.”
The goal of ProjectCSGIRLS to show women they can use science and technology to make a social impact.
At just 15 years old, Sabina London founded STEM You Can! What started as a summer camp with 15 kids became a huge program for kids who love science. Her Campus tells us she wanted other young girls to become just as passionate about science as she was.
“My idea to start STEM You Can! extends back to my sophomore year in high school when I noticed I was one of only four girls in my honors chemistry class,” London shared. She was further motivated by studies that showed women lacked confidence in the scientific fields and felt like they were “incapable of succeeding.”
Sasha Ariel Alston
Sasha studied technology in high school in Washington D.C. and became an intern at Microsoft, where she designed her first gaming app. She was involved in many STEM-related clubs and courses; she noticed there were very few women around her and even fewer women of color.
So, she wrote and published a children’s book called, Sasha Savvy Loves to code.
Alston said, “I want girls to know that they can choose any career they want despite their gender or race. Raising interest in STEM should be done at an early age. Hopefully, girls hearing from me, a young woman who likes fashion and music just like most of them but also thinks coding is cool, will make an impact.”
To wrap up this series, I'm including a printable file with the graphics I made for these posts so you can put them up in your classroom. This would be a great bulletin board or decoration for your STEM classroom! These images feature facts and quotes for some of the featured women in STEM as an inspiration for your class. Enjoy!
Click here to download the pictured materials and then subscribe here to get more free materials, ideas, and updates sent to your inbox.
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