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3 ways to make STEM matter for girls: Show, connect, encourage


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CEO Mary Anne Jacobs would like to share some exciting information from Girl Scouts of the USA about girls in STEM:

If a girl loves listening to music…playing sports…cooking…playing video games…dancing…making jewelry…geocaching…costume design…or stargazing: She’s interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

If she wants to cure diseases...explore space...create new fashions...discover ancient ruins...care for animals...invent new toys...edit videos...or dive into the ocean depths: She's interested in STEM.

And most elementary school-aged girls already have the right mindset for STEM: 

  • Girls are curious and like to ask questions.
  • They enjoy talking about ideas and making things with others.
  • They love to use their imaginations. 

For many girls, however, their interest in STEM subjects fades away as they move through middle school and high school. We can help keep their passions and curiosity for STEM subjects alive by showing them how STEM subjects can help others. 

  • Research shows girls are more interested in STEM careers after they’ve learned how the work in those fields helps people have better lives.
  • Helping them see that they do belong. Research shows that simply changing science-related posters in computer labs from boy-oriented images to gender-neutral images can help girls feel more engaged.
  • Encouraging them and giving girls an equal playing field. Research shows that young girls’ brains are just as capable as boys’ brains when it comes to learning about STEM. However, some teachers, guidance counselors, friends or family still give girls the message that STEM is not for them.

With some help and guidance, more girls will pursue STEM studies after high school and more women will be represented in STEM careers. If we can inspire young girls to stick with these subjects, we can help keep them on the path!

We want to show our girls just how exciting, fun and attainable STEM can be. So Girl Scouts of the USA created a booklet, sponsored by Netflix, with tips about how to encourage girls to explore and enjoy STEM.

Girl Scouts offers fun, hands-on STEM activities; an all-girl environment where it’s safe to try to new things; and a focus on how girls can use what they’ve learned to take the lead and make the world a better place.

The Netflix original series Project Mc2 empowers girls to celebrate their special skills and interests. The main characters are undercover teen spies who use their smarts — from culinary chemistry to gadget engineering — to solve missions and save the world. Along the way, the girls prove that smart is the new cool.

— Mary Anne Jacobs, CEO • majacobs@girlscouts-gateway.org