Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Girls and science

I got two publications in the mail this week from the Girl Scout Research Institute (I didn't know such an office existed), that offer some really positive news.  One, looking at the 59 million alumni of the Girl Scout program, found that one half of adult women were Girl Scouts at some point, and those that were, have been more successful in their lives.    With this being the 100th anniversary of the founding of Girl Scouts of America, 2012 is declared the Year of the Girl.

The second publication is titled "Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math."   And the results are surprisingly encouraging.   A long standing problem has been that girls in general seem to lose interest in STEM fields "despite high achievement in academics and other career fields," so that women are underrepresented in STEM careers.    

The study found that 
  • Seventy-four percent of high school girls across the country are interested in the fields and subjects of STEM.
  • Girls are interested in the process of learning, asking questions, and problem solving.
  • Girls want to help people and make a difference in the world.
  • Girls who are interested in STEM are high achievers who have supportive adult networks
    and are exposed to STEM fields.
  • Girls who are interested in STEM fields are actually interested in many subjects and career
    opportunities—STEM is just one area of interest among many.
It concludes with a list of 10 actions for individuals (parents, teachers, role models) to take to get past the hurdles keeping girls from realizing STEM in their future.

For me, the take away message is that girls are ready for STEM fields, we just need to figure out how to engage them.  Coincidentally, we have a record size class of interns this summer, and it looks like young women comprise at least 75% of the group.    

No comments:

Post a Comment