About 50% of young girls lose interest in STEM by the age of 8. This is an alarming number. However, what’s worse is women only make up about 15-25% of the current trained workers in STEM careers and the gap is expanding. What can we do to solve this problem? Without women in STEAM careers, the innovation and research of our future will continue to suffer. We must understand the importance of reaching girls at a young age to foster the confidence and exploration of their ideas, their inventions, and allow them to be confident in their decision making.
The only effective way to build a pipeline of adult women in tech careers is to capture girls’ imaginations with respect to science, technology, engineering, art, and math by the time they are eight-years-old. STEAM’s role in our educational organization was created to assist students in developing their ideas and confidence and become future leaders of the world. Students today are provided the opportunity to become inventors, engineers, scientists, researchers, and future changemakers. STEAM is designed to provide quality educational freedoms to both young girls and young boys and give them insights of what their future in our world holds. STEM is a curriculum based on the approach of educating students in the studies of science, technology, engineering, and math. We must remember that innovation is not exclusive to STEM.
The Arts are an important part of innovation as well. STEAM was cultivated to include the Arts and expand education for the future of work in STEAM careers. By inviting young girls to use their education and technical skills with their creativity and innovation they are increasing their competitive edge. The STEAM curriculum blends all five studies into a unified learning model based on real-world applications and the future of work students will perform. STEAM education is a vital part of our young student’s education. STEAM is designed to prepare our students to believe that they can become researchers, educators, innovators, and leaders.
Give our girls the vision of what the future holds and encourage STEAM exploration and growth. One element of social and emotional growth in 8- to 10-year olds is their heightened need to be seen as knowledgeable and intelligent. Within a young girl’s development, it must be recognized that how young girls feel about their skills and competence in school affects how she will feel about herself socially and will impact what challenges she is willing to take on in her future. By 8-years-old children begin applying logic, reasoning, and problem-solving strategies. At this stage, young girls are able to use more than one strategy at a time and they are more thoughtful of their choice. Encouraging STEAM play and exploration throughout these crucial years will increase their confidence in their decision making and their exploration of new ideas.
The number of experienced female workers and students in STEM is distressing. Statistics vary by subject and location, but generally, women only make up about 15%-25% of the current STEM workforce. By fostering the belief and encouragement of young girls in STEM we can begin to lessen the gap and have more creativity and ideas in the growing STEAM fields. Many studies show there are no differences in STEM abilities. There is however, a socially perceived capability with girls versus boys in STEM fields.
If girls are not expected to succeed in STEAM fields or succeed in math and science, it makes sense that young women are considering higher education in fields away from STEM. Their interests have shifted to topics to which they feel more successful and confidence. We must recognize gender imbalance and be aware of how we interact and communicate with girls and support young women. Gender stereotypes are deep-rooted in our backgrounds. We must cultivate change. Are you ready to support your daughter’s STEM education? Do you want your daughter to feel that there is a successful out-look in her future of work? You can start by bringing the STEAM learning into the home.
By bringing STEAM learning into the home you are reminding your daughter that you support her ideas, learning, exploring, and want her to feel confident in the decisions she makes. Some ideas for STEM education include science kits, rock tumblers, microscopes, robotics, magnetic blocks, walkie-talkies, cameras and camcorders, terrariums, building block kits, crystal growing kits, gadgets and electronics lab kits, and binoculars. STEAM connects everything we do, whether it’s the arts, music, sports, or agriculture. We must continue to encourage young women in STEM and STEAM education.
The future of work for women will continue to suffer if we do not make changes. STEM is at the core of everything. Using STEAM, and allowing young women to understand and appreciate the importance of the work that they create and how it affects the world around them increases their confidence and decision-making. Confident young women excited about innovation and comfortable in their abilities will close the gender gap in STEM careers between men and women and will bring new ideas into the world of innovation.