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5 Ways to Support Women And Girls In Science

February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. And as we all are aware, even today, the prevailing biases and stereotypes are sadly ones that continue to hold back women from STEAM fields (or to hold them back from staying there). Which is why I wanted to put down some of my thoughts about ways to support women and girls in science.

I grew up in a household and environment where I never felt I was being held back from anything I wanted to pursue, be it a STEAM field or otherwise. But that is not the case for many others, as I have seen over the years.

This is certainly due to what seems to pervading society. Which is why each of us needs to take a stance and take steps to ensure these biases, differences, and stereotypes become a thing of the past for our future generations. When I recently read the book titled Your Brain on Stereotypes, I found myself thinking twice about my own unconscious biases.

That led me to find out what might happen if I take the Implicit Test. Disclaimer: I am yet to take this test but linked it here if you want to check it out. This test does not take too long and is an online test for unconscious bias.

There are so many things we can do to work towards these goals, not just on these earmarked days but year-round. So while you might end up reading this post after the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, you can do it any day, and everyday.

5 Ways to Support Women And Girls In Science

So here are

5 Ways to Support Women And Girls In Science

Talk to Women and Girls in Science

For all ages…

Look at the women and girls around you, or in your neighborhood or community. It could be your doctor or dentist, your neighbor who works at the tech company, or someone you know who runs a STEAM business all by her own, or that niece who loves experimenting with slime or robotics.

Talk to them and learn about the whys and hows of their interest in science. And then talk to those who seem to act upon those biases and stereotypes and think that STEM/STEAM is not for them. Encourage them to explore, learn, and let them know that it is for everyone.

Maybe you could interview one of them and make a post about it! (Maybe I should do that as well..)

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Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Dress Up or Act It Out

For all ages.. especially fun for younger audiences..

Make it a fun event. Pick earmarked days (like February 11th, or November 8th – which is National STEM/STEAM Day) or pick just about any day (as I mentioned earlier), and dress up like your favorite woman in science. Or put on a play featuring them. It is a doable option for virtual events too, and everyone will learn more about these inspiring women in the process.

Make STEAM More Appealing and Available

Those biases and stereotypes I mentioned earlier make girls approach STEAM fields differently. While there are many girls and women in biological and social science fields, the numbers reduce in engineering related fields, and reduce further in research in these fields.

But we can make all science fields more appealing to everyone with a few strategies, like

  • Watch fun videos (like this set Edutopia has put together here –  8 Videos to Encourage Girls in STEM)
  • Get STEAM related toys for girls and boys alike.
  • Find more programming and shows that feature girls and women in STE(A)M fields. According to a study, just 12% of characters with identifiable STEM jobs onscreen were women. And conversely, also watch shows of men and boys in female dominated fields (as well as apply this to the other strategies too!)
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Photo by Luis J. on Pexels.com

Support Programs and Organizations

Support the programs that work towards fostering interest in girls towards STEAM, as well as in encouraging girls and women to continue in those fields. This support can come from as little as sharing information about them, like I am doing through this post, donating to these organizations, or volunteering for them, and even learning more about them.

Here are few I listed below (and there are so many more)

And of course, given who I am, this last item on the list is kind of obvious!

Read

Books
Here are a few books to inspire young (and older) readers towards STEM.
And then some more….
Articles

These are some articles I read recently that I wanted to share with you

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, as always I welcome your comments and thoughts on this post. Which of these suggestions appeals to you the most? What are some ways you support STEAM for girls in your everyday life? Do let me know. Who are some inspiring women (and girls) in science that you know of?

24 thoughts on “5 Ways to Support Women And Girls In Science

  1. In school, I always felt as if I were not encouraged to go into a STEM/STEAM field. That was where I got the impression that I wasn’t smart enough for such a field of study. And now, so many years later, I realize that science was something that fascinates me and probably always did fascinate me. If I could do it over again, my college major would be botany or entomology. Because plants and bugs. They make life complete.

  2. LOVE this! I am a science major (health sciences). I’ve always loved science! Most of girlfriends are science majors too (engineers/biomedical engineers/etc…). My oldest daughter (2) is also already showing a deep love for science and I am going to foster that for sure!

  3. My older daughter loves, loves science! We buy her science experiment kits and subscribed her to Little Passports Science Junior program to foster her love of science. Next up is coding. Love this post!

  4. This is excellent, I had to Google STEAM, I knew STEM but this is the first time I have noticed STEAM. You taught me something new this morning before I was even out of my PJs.

    1. Yes, I strongly believe that the STEAM subjects and all the wonders that come along with them should be introduced and available to everyone. It took me a long while (well into adulthood) to realize that was not the case as I grew up in a home and a neighborhood where girls and boys alike were encouraged to learn all things equally

  5. I love this post! I miss holding STEAM programs at the library. I am going to try to adapt them for online, but they were so fun in person, and it was great getting kids of all genders, especially the girls, involved.

    My niece is three and interested in building which I love! My parents and I got her this cool building kit for Christmas and I hope she sticks with it. Her dad always imagined her being more artsy like me (he’s actually my cousin and I’m the only girl in his family) but now we all think it’s so cool she’s taken an interest in STEM!

    1. Thank you Kate.. And I love the idea of STEAM so much better than STEM.. and love the gift you got your niece. Some of my favorite STE(A)M gifts to gift over the years have been the Snap Circuits and Learning Resources Gears sets.. (and of course Legos)

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