STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects are essential for the future of our world. However, girls are often underrepresented in these fields. In fact, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, only 28% of women work in STEM occupations.
There are many reasons why girls lose interest in STEM subjects in middle school. Some of these reasons include:
- Peer pressure. In middle school, girls are often pressured to conform to traditional gender roles. This can lead them to believe that STEM subjects are not “girly” or that they are not good at math and science.
- Lack of female role models. Girls need to see other girls who are successful in STEM fields in order to believe that they can be successful too. However, there are still too few female role models in STEM, especially in leadership positions.
- Negative stereotypes. There are still many negative stereotypes about girls and STEM. These stereotypes can make girls feel like they don’t belong in these fields.
- Unchallenging classes. Many STEM classes in middle school are not challenging enough for girls. This can lead them to lose interest in these subjects.
There are things that we can do to help girls stay interested in STEM subjects in middle school. These things include:
- Providing more female role models. We need to show girls that there are other girls who are successful in STEM fields. This can be done by providing more female teachers and mentors in STEM, and by highlighting the accomplishments of women in STEM.
- Challenging girls in STEM classes. We need to make sure that STEM classes are challenging enough for girls. This means providing them with opportunities to learn new concepts and to solve complex problems.
- Changing the culture around STEM. We need to change the culture around STEM so that it is more welcoming to girls. This means challenging negative stereotypes and creating a more inclusive environment.
By taking these steps, we can help more girls stay interested in STEM subjects in middle school. This will help to ensure that our future workforce is diverse and that we are able to solve the challenges of the 21st century.
Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:
- The National Girls Collaborative Project: https://www.ngcproject.org/
- Girls Who Code: https://girlswhocode.com/
- Society of Women Engineers: https://swe.org/
- Women in STEM: https://womeninstem.org/