Getting young girls interested in STEM
Women’s representation is low at all levels of the STEM career “pipeline,” from interest and intent to majoring in a STEM field in college to having a career in a STEM field in adulthood. Studies show that girls lose interest in math and science during middle school, and STEM interest for girls is low, compared to boys…It is time now to shift the focus toward understanding and developing solutions for “what works” for girls who show interest and engage in the fields of STEM.
- Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
This statement from Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, a report generated by the Girl Scouts Research Institute, is why Girl Scouts of Central Maryland makes it a priority to introduce girls of every age to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities that are relevant to everyday life. Whether they’re discovering the chemistry of their favorite foods, becoming math whizzes, or learning about careers in STEM fields, girls are moving forward into the future.
Girl Scouts believes that girls are natural scientists; they push boundaries, test limits, and look at the world around them with inquisitive eyes. Debbie Sterling, a female in the male-dominated world of engineering, agrees with this notion. As she began studying engineering at Stanford Debbie was bothered by the lack of women in her program; once she got out into the work force, this issue only became more prominent. This prompted her to develop a toy that would “get little girls to love engineering as much as I do,” she said. The toy, called GoldieBlox, is a book series as well as a building set that follows the stories of GoldieBlox, a girl inventor and her friends as they build and experiment; the girls use their tool kit to build along with GoldieBlox.
“I didn’t even know what engineering was until I was a senior in high school,” Debbie admitted. In the introductory video for Goldieblox, she also tells us that her parents never bought her Legos or Linkin Logs – it never occurred to them. As a felame engineer, Goldieblox is the toy she wishes she had as a kid because while some construction toy companies turn their products pink in order to market it to girls, “theres much more to us than that.” By combining reading with building, Debbie has been able to get the attention of girls in a way that companies who simply make their building blocks pink could not.
Watch as the Goldieblox girls disrupt the “pink” aisle