Girls and Science: Why Still So Far Behind?
USA- Austin, TX | Aug 14 2012 | (23:15:56 - EDT)
Nearly 30 years after Sally Ride became the first female astronaut, not much has changed for America's girls. In college, young women continue to enroll in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors in far fewer numbers than boys.
Numerous studies have shown that the decline in interest and motivation to study STEM subjects begins early in life, but there are ways to help girls become more confident and interested in studying STEM subjects.
According to electrical engineer and Technigirl founder Melissa Montanez, in order to achieve these goals, it is very important to start building girls' confidence from an early age.
A report by the American Association of University Women entitled "Why So Few" shows that just over 20% of entering men planned to major in physical sciences, engineering, or computer science, while only about 5% of women planned to major in those fields.
Why do girls seemingly have less interest in studying STEM subjects than boys? Studies show that one major issue is societal stereotypes such as "girls aren't as good at math as boys":
If a girl believes that most people, especially those in her immediate environment, think boys are better than girls at math, that thought is going to affect her, even if she doesn't believe it herself. (Why So Few, p.45)
In order to gain the confidence they need to succeed in math and science, a study by the Institute of Education Sciences' What Works Clearinghouse concluded that it is important that girls be taught that academic abilities are expandable. Teaching this will enhance girls' beliefs in their capabilities in math and science.
"It's really important that we start giving girls positive messages about their capabilities in math and science as early in life as possible," said Melissa Montanez. "As an electrical engineer, I know how lonely it can be for women in this field. Too many young girls and women dismiss it as a career choice early in life."
Technigirl was founded in 2011 in Austin, TX and creates intelligent clothing for girls. The company's mission is to encourage girls to be proud of their intelligence and to help build their intellectual confidence from birth onward.
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