Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science! This is quite a very special and important day. From a young age, girls should be encouraged to pursue any career of their interest. It's especially important to celebrate, encourage and support girls who are interested in science, because it can lead them to having fulfilling careers, and defying gender stereotypes. In this post, we offer a few tips that can help you encourage girls with an interest in science, as well as provide different role models and books!
Here are five tips that can help you encourage girls to look towards science!
1. Exposure- One of our first tips to help encourage and foster an interest in science for girls, is to expose them to how interesting and cool Science can be. There are many times when girls are discouraged to even take an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects. This discouragement can start at a young age. It's important for you to continuously provide your children situations in which they can learn and observe every subject. With girls specifically, it's important to continue to have them exposed to Stem subjects, so that they can have an awareness of those subjects and even begin to move towards a career path if they choose.
2. Representation- Another great tip for encouragement, is representation. Representation is important for any child interested in a subject, because it gives them early role models, and an understanding that people similar to them can achieve the same goals they want to achieve. For girls, providing them with positive role models within STEM careers and subjects, can give them the encouragement they need to continue their interest within the subject. They can find ways to relate to other women, and find role models they admire and want to model themselves after.
3. Team Effort- When it comes to encouragement, one of the best tips, is making things a team effort. When encouraging girls interest in STEM subjects, it's important to let them know they are not alone. You can try to participate in different activities and events with your daughter, that will show her how fun, and interesting the subjects can be. Not only can you help build her confidence within the subject, but it also provides great bonding time, as well as a chance for your daughter to gauge what qualities of the subject she like or dislike.
4. Relate to their interest- Relating to a child's interest can be very helpful in both teaching them new subjects, and encouraging them in discovering a new subject. For girls and STEM subjects, you can help foster an interest, by relating the subjects to one of their other interest. You can also point out how that interest might utilize the subjects. This can help your daughter recognized connections and how what they like can be related.
5. Positive Encouragement- Our last tip, is positive encouragement. This is especially important for girls in STEM subjects, because there can be a lot of negative attention, and treatment. Women have to constantly confront gendered stereotyping. This can be very apparent, when it comes to careers and areas of study. It's important to be a positive force in your young girl's life, when she is interested, or wants to pursue STEM subjects. Let her know that it is possible, and that she is very capable.
Below we have compiled a list of important women figures in the STEM areas, as well as websites where you can read further information abuout them!
1. Edith Clarke - Edith Clarke was the first female electrical engineer in the United States, as well as the first female professor of engineering.
2. Valentina Tereshkova- Valentina Tereshkova was the first and youngest woman to travel in space. She remains the only women to have flown a solo space mission.
3. Dr. Jedidah Isler- Dr. Jedidah Isler was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale. She is a highly outspoken advocate for inclusion and empowerment
4. Dr. Jane Goodall- Dr. Jane Goodall is a primatologist and anthropologist, who has dedicated her life to wildlife conservation and animal welfare issues.
5. Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin- Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin was the first person to earn a doctorate in Astronomy from Harvard, who established that stars should be classified by their temperatures.
Here is a list of some books about girls and STEM!
1. The Girl With a Mind For Math: The Story of Raye Montague By Julia Finley Mosca
2. Mary Had A Little Lab By Sue Fliess
3. Ada Twist, Scientist By Andrea Beaty
4. Rosie Revere Engineer By Andrea Beaty
5. Cece Loves Science By Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes