Encouraging more girls to pursue careers in STEM is essential, not just for ensuring that we have the best talent possible but also for providing ways for women to express themselves and take leadership positions.
1. Host a STEM Fair in the Community
Have students engage with their communities in a STEM fair. Conduct a STEM-themed art contest, bring in local or regional industry professionals to speak about their career experiences and present them with awards, or have students design and build models for a community display that highlights the uses of science, technology, engineering, and/or math.
2. Present STEM Facts in Your Classes
Presenting facts, whether they be scientific or otherwise, in your classes is a great way to show girls that they can excel in STEM. It doesn’t have to be a science class – it could be an English class, history class, or even math class. All you have to do is take a look at studies done, pick out some interesting statistics or data points, and discuss them with students. Make sure you stress essential findings related to female participation in STEM as well – how many women are represented at different levels within the field? Why might that be? Encouraging girls to think about these issues will make them more aware of the problems facing women in STEM and why it is essential to pursue a career in the field.
3. Host a STEM Club after School
A STEM club is another great way to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM, especially if there aren’t a lot of opportunities for girls to explore these areas of study at school. Model the club based upon an organization like FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) or Girls Who Code, both organizations geared towards getting more females interested in STEM. You can also take the initiative and start putting together your program. The best part about doing that is that you’re the only one who has to be the expert – students can work together to figure out what they want to do and pool their resources as much as possible.
4. Have Students Present Research Projects in Class
Presenting projects that students have worked on as a whole class is one of the best ways to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers. We recommend you have them present posters, videos, or other presentations that they have made in conjunction with STEM curricula. These presentations will be more exciting and engaging if students are working on and presenting the material they are genuinely interested in! There’s nothing more exciting than watching a student share their passion with their classmates; it will help them to realize that they have the potential to succeed in STEM.
5. Encourage Female Students to Attend STEM Conferences
Another good way to encourage female students to pursue STEM careers is to enable them to attend a variety of different conferences. This can be challenging for schools – especially in rural areas – that aren’t exactly known for the number of STEM conferences or events they have on the calendar. However, if you make it a point to have at least a few, such as FIRST and local science fairs, your students will be exposed to a wide range of exciting topics and can develop an interest in similar activities.
6. Take Advantage of Female Positivity
Finally, you can encourage female students to pursue STEM careers by simply taking advantage of the positive attitude toward girls. Explain to your students that people tend to think girls are better at science and math than they are, so they should never be afraid to try something new. Once they take a risk and discover that they are capable of succeeding in STEM, they’ll realize it’s an integral part of their identity.
STEM is an important area of study that has a lot of room to grow in female participation. Encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers means encouraging them to pursue a field that they love, and it allows them to be leaders and participants. By following the six tips presented here, we help encourage girls in STEM.