Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM
STEM… Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Why is it that in a society advocating for equal rights and full of feminist movements, do so few girls participate in STEM? In fact, a report from Deakin University and the University of Melbourne shows that Australian girls have one of the lowest rates of STEM involvement in the Western world!
Even though we are progressing, gender biases are deeply embedded in our cultural expectations, stereotypes and traditions and children are absorbing these from a very young age. Our society tends to think that boys are better at maths, but there is no actual evidence to support this belief. Nor is there evidence to support the belief that boys are better at science. On the contrary, primary and secondary school age girls often have equal or greater success rates in science subjects, than their male peers.
So why don’t more girls engage in STEM?
The simple answer is that these implicit biases (which can be so subtle and unconscious) tend to be key in holding women back from STEM subjects. And this has a knock on effect, of there being so few women working in STEM, and therefore so few role models for younger girls.
And what can we do about it?
Given that so much of the issue is steeped in gender bias, we believe that a concerted effort from parents, teachers and carers is need to bridge this gap. This certainly won’t happen overnight, but if we start to remove the stigma of science and maths being ‘boy’ subjects, we are certainly moving in the right direction.
Try to provide your children with lots of STEM opportunities, from when they are young… take them to museums, have some construction and science kits in your toy cupboard. And there are even lots of household items that you can create science projects and experiments with, without having to even buy kits; rulers, measuring tapes, stop watches, goggles, pipettes and magnifying glasses.
Here at easypeazy, we also have some great after school STEM classes and some STEM holiday activities for you to give your children the opportunity to dip their toes in and explore… irrelevant of their gender!