The science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sector needs more women. Despite making up half of the STEM labor force, including the health sector, women account for just 25% of computer jobs and only 15% of roles in engineering. If this is down to women being discouraged from entering scientific fields from a young age, what can schools do to help?
In the following guide, we’ll cover a few of the ways in which schools can start not only encouraging girls to choose and enjoy scientific subjects in their lessons, but to pursue a future career in STEM.
Closing the gap early
It’s crucial to motivate girls to get into tech – and to realize that it’s a space for them, not just for boys – from an early age. Equal access to opportunity is not specifically about gender, so don’t overlook the importance of discussing and demonstrating diversity in any career when you’re talking to students about their futures.
Inspiring girls in the classroom
There are several practical ways in which teachers can help pupils to discover their passion for STEM subjects, creative thinking, and problem-solving. We’ve outlined a few right here:
- Group projects
Students make strong memories through collaborative, interactive activities at school. If you dedicate an afternoon to hands-on experience with coding or other accessible, data-driven technologies, you could help your pupils to discover skills they didn’t know they had yet.
- Careers fairs
Hosting an event – internally or for pupils from other schools to attend too – could be a fantastic way to spread the news about exciting careers in science and technology. If you have the means, invite speakers to your event and make sure you include women in tech on your guestlist.
Giving girls the opportunity to listen to someone who inspires them to chase their goals could make a lifelong impression – and even influence their future career choice.
- Mentorship programs for girls
If you know you have gifted, talented and motivated pupils in your classroom, you can help them to harness their potential. It’s proven that girls are much more likely than boys to give up on a difficult task – and the higher their IQ, the more likely they are to abandon the attempt entirely.
Even if it’s in your own time, inviting girls to proceed with a targeted mentorship program could provide them with the guidance and support they need to make major decisions about their futures. Sometimes, all it takes is a little extra belief to incite courage.
Women have been making a pivotal difference in the scientific and technological fields for centuries, but the need for more is still clear. Through collaborative, determined efforts to build the confidence of young women, the STEM industry is slowly becoming more powerful.