3 Ways to Tell Girls How Cool Science Is

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by Kristina Chew
Via care2.com

“I would have gone into science.” A student, a humanities major, once said these words to me as we talked about her post-college plans. It was only midway through college that she had learned that the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields offer so many possibilities for careers. I gathered that her high school had not encouraged the study of science, at least among girls.

Here are three ways that scientists, engineers and women in the tech world are seeking to ensure that girls don’t find themselves with such regrets.

1. GoldieBlox

At Stanford, Debbie Sterling was one of 181 women in her year to graduate in engineering along with 700 men. Such lopsided numbers are typical; as The Atlantic notes, some 90 percent of America’s engineers (pdf) are male. A San Francisco-based entrepreneur, Sterling is seeking to change this with a toy called GoldieBlox.

GoldieBlox is centered around a female engineer character, Goldie. A set comes with five figurines, a construction kit including plastic pieces, a ribbon and a book/app that tells the story of “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine” with instructions to build, step by step, a spinning device. The book/app is key: Central to Sterling’s strategy withGoldieBlox is the idea that girls are more likely to become engaged via a story and, in particular, one that involves helping people.

It can be said that GoldieBlox is playing into stereotypes about girls’ preferences for, well, girly things (ribbon) and gender norms. Sterling argues that it’s necessary to meet girls where they are, as she says in The Atlantic:

When you think about how back in the day, most doctors were male. As women began to gain more power, guess who starts to become doctors? Women. Because they love nurturing and caring about people — it was an obvious step. I think the same thing will happen with engineering, once we learn what engineering really is and we get beyond the stereotype of a nerdy man sitting alone in a cubicle at a computer. Engineers are solving some of the world’s biggest problems and helping people.

Read the other two ways: http://www.care2.com/causes/3-great-ideas-girls-science.html#ixzz27VLv8ju1

Thanks to Denise Greaves for bringing this item to our attention.

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One Response to 3 Ways to Tell Girls How Cool Science Is

  1. Anna Sudaric Hillier says:

    Well, all I can say is: Some people have it and some people don’t. But, how do we encourage those who love to do science. That is the question.

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