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Gender in the STEM world

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Hello everybody, I know times have changed, but I once attended a STEM event about two years ago and noticed the majority of the employees that participated alonside their companies were males. Not to mention that even to this day, majors such as engineering and science are dominated by men. I would love to hear ideas regarding what can be done to introduce more women to this field that seems more and more promising by the day. Do you think that in the future it will become a world of both men and women and not just the male population?

Hannah Hoffman Hannah Hoffman 380 Points

I definetly think that the numbers of women in the STEM field are and will continue to increase. I think a huge issue in the past was just a lack of representation and the more women we see in this feild the more we know we are capable of it!

Dakota Irvine Dakota Irvine 100 Points

One idea that comes to mind right away in introducing this field to both genders would just be a simple job/career fair. Many middle schools and high schools offer job/career fair opportunities for students to see what they are possibily interested in doing after high school. Make it open and available to all students of all genders and make them feel welcomed. Another thing is, in the elementary classroom teachers could start incorporating more STEM activities but leave the curious minds of the students to make some decisions on their own and possibly explore some of the acitivites and things they may be interested. Have them step in just a little bit to see if you can spark an interest in this field. It is a prodominately male field but I feel that if us teachers work more to put the options, activities, and opportunites out there, then maybe it will eventually spark interest in more females as well. In the future I see more women becoming a part of the STEM community but I personally think more men will be attracted because thats how its always been. But as stated, the numbers will eventually increase the more we can offer these opportunites to both male and female students. 

Elizabeth Inselmann Elizabeth Inselmann 1395 Points

Hi Roberta, 

 My name is Lizzy Inselmann I am a third-year elementary education major. I agree that STEM is still very male-dominated. I hope that it will change in the future. Personally, I feel that STEM learning can be competitive who can get the right answer fastest or who can do the best on a certain project. To encourage more students especially women to explore the stem field we need to get rid of the competitive nature of STEM learning. Also, creating a classroom environment that encourages all to participate and shows female students all the different women in the STEM fields. 

Hope this helps, 

Lizzy Inselmann

Wartburg College 2023 

Micah Decker Micah Decker 638 Points

Hello Roberta,

I am a 4th-year majoring in Elementary Education at Wartburg College. I also have noticed the focus of men in STEAM jobs. I think a great way to make this push for equality is by making STEAM more appealing to all genders. NASA recently released its first interactive graphic novel called 'First Woman'. The graphic novel shows Callie Rodriguez, the first woman to explore the Moon, along with her robot sidekick RT. This would be a great resource to show children women are just as capable as men. Many children's stories show young girls dreaming of being a princess and young boys dreaming of being an astronaut. If we normalize STEAM jobs to be for any gender, then I'm sure we will see a growth in women in STEAM. I believe the future of STEAM will be equally represented by all genders because we are the generation of change. I hope we can see this change sooner rather than later!

Happy learning!

-Micah Decker

Mabely Mendoza Mabely Mendoza 570 Points

Hi Roberta, I noticed this too. Back in high school I was taking Calculus and I was the only girl then and I felt discuraged for a while. If we were to encourged students from all gender to participate in the STEM program, I feel that during the early years this can be empasiezed mostly in middle school. In middle school most students have the oppurtunity to advnced in math taking Algebra and Geometry, but usually only boys took up the spot. I'm not sure if this is the reason, but from what I seen at least at my previous schools was that most science and math teachers were men, and usually gave the harder questions to the boys while simplifying the questions to the girls.

Jessica Wells Jessica Wells 331 Points

I think a robotics club is a great way to encourage all students to participate in stem activites.

 

Laura Pirtle Laura Pirtle 270 Points

One way my school got females involved was to create a special club for women interested in stem. In college my friend joined a soroity that supported women in STEM majors because they left underminded by the amount of men in their major.

Selia Ganey Selia Ganey 680 Points

I think the reason why STEM is majority males is that even at a young age, boys usually play with robots, action figures, or legos, which is triggering interest at a young age with STEM-related majors. In comparison, the stereotype for girls is to play with dolls, etc. I am a soon-to-be Elementary Education teacher and will definitely incorporate fun science experiments all genders will be interested in or fun mathematical projects to involve all students. It is awesome to push young girls to get interested in STEM subjects because it is not just for men. It will start to be more of a male and female major because I know my best friend is majoring in biomedical engineering. My sister graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, so I think more and more women are starting to spark an interest in STEM majors. 

Dakota, I like what you had to say about elementary classrooms. You advocated for 'incorporating more STEM activities but leave the curious minds of students to make some decisions on their own and possibly explore some of the activities and things they may be interested.' Shaping the brain architecture with STEM thinking and engineering habits of mind should occur in the primary grades and preschool - a critical time in which the brain is developing. Our center has been advocating for open-ended STEM experiences over time alongside literacy experiences during small group reading instruction. We have some free resources on our website to whet a teacher's appetite. We will be publishing some books on early STEM in Teachers College Press within the year providing more depth to these experiences. The site starts with STEM experiences for infants and toddlers. Scrolling down, you will find experiences appropriate for preschool and the primary grades. If we want to include more females in STEM, it needs to start happening in the early grades. https://regentsctr.uni.edu/regents-center/stem-experiences-classrooms

Attachments

http://rampsandpathways.org (External Website)

A M A 660 Points

Hello Roberta,

I was recently discussing this topic with a peer who is in the engineering program at our college. She is one of the only women in the program. Science, technology, and mathematics programs on the other hand, have a greater number of women. She said in their classes they talk a lot about why this is that way. We are both juniors in college and remember first learning about STEM in middle school. It feels like not much has changed since then in the engineering field. I think a great way to help women grow interest for any of these fields would be getting in touch with a local university or college and ask if they could set up a program where students in the STEM fields could work with young students. At our college we have 6th grade science day. This day has hundreds of students from surrounding schools who come to our campus to learn more about the STEM fields. This includes authentic learning through hands on experiences. The turnout is growing each year, and as a future educator, I love seeing opportunities like this for teachers. I hope more universities and colleges grow programs like ours, so more students have the opportunity to experience how fun and exciting STEM can be. 

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