The Importance of Girls in STEM Education
In several studies conducted, when children were asked to draw a mathematician or a scientist, girls were twice as likely to draw men as they were to draw women, while boys almost universally drew men, often in a lab coat. There is a reason behind these stereotypical imaging.
Men vastly outnumber women in the STEM field. The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering. STEM education is essential for young girls and women as it encourages these young women to think of themselves as innovators. Our world is so dynamic that every human being, despite their gender, has to adapt to the changing world.
STEM education gives young children an opportunity to think. The interdisciplinary subjects of science, technology, engineering and math help young children critically think, innovate and in turn help with their cognitive development. STEM education allows learners to understand how the world works and how they can be a more involved part of the world. Introducing girls to STEM education at a young age will give them equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers later on in their lives which helps narrow the gender pay gap, enhances women’s economic security and ensures a diverse and talented STEM workforce.
So why are there such huge gender gaps in the STEM field? Let’s look at some of the reasons:
1. Gender Stereotypes: STEM fields are often viewed as a masculine field, which results in teachers and parents not being motivated enough to push girls towards these subjects. Young girls’ abilities are often underestimated from preschool which does not give them an equal opportunity to excel.
2. Male-dominated cultures: Because fewer women work in STEM, these fields are often exclusionary and male-dominated which in turn is not supportive of or attractive to women and minorities and is rather discouraging.
3. Fewer role models: As kids, we look up to our elders in everything they do. With respect to STEM fields, young girls have fewer role models that they can aspire to be or learn from, be it female scientists or engineers.
Therefore, it is important to introduce STEM education to girls at a young age so that they can close this gender gap and break all the existing stereotypes.
Benefits of Introducing Young Girls to STEM Education
1. Preparation for future jobs: Living in such a dynamic and ever-changing world, nobody can be too prepared for what the future holds in store for us. Nonetheless, STEM education prepares young girls and boys for a future where most jobs will require a basic understanding of maths and science - and where new skills will be vital. Children will get better at using the technology that powers the world.
2. Breaking down gender barriers: In order to make STEM education inclusive, it is essential to introduce young girls to subjects like math and science which are usually labeled as “masculine” subjects. The more young girls and women are a part of STEM fields, the more we will break down gender barriers everyday.
3. STEM degrees tend to have wider high-paying career choices: STEM jobs are growing significantly faster than most other fields and, in most cases, STEM jobs are the ones that are the least likely to be eliminated by technology any time soon. Opening these fields up to women is essential to ensure that the jobs of the future are equally distributed, and the first step is to make it clear from the beginning that STEM is for anybody who’s interested in it and ready to work hard, regardless of gender.
4. STEM encourages problem solving: Problem solving is a crucial skill in a young child’s development. STEM education creates a strong foundation for critical thinking and innovation and encourages children to use the tools available to them. This skill is crucial for healthy cognitive development of any child, irrespective of their gender.
5. A source of inspiration for the upcoming generations: Every young child aspires to become like their heroes. Young kids benefit from a role model as they absorb everything they learn from someone they admire. If there aren’t any women in the STEM workforce, young girls will have no one to look up to in the future. Not only does having a substantial women workforce attract more young girls towards the field, but it also encourages them to pursue fields that they previously deemed impossible.
STEM education is definitely the way forward in today’s world. The future of science and technology is as bright as we work to make it but they can only shine so bright unless it is an equal platform for every human being. Even in the 21st century, we have a long way to go to achieve gender equality in the workforce. But, if every teacher and parents encourages their young girl from a tender age to pursue her interests in computers, science or engineering, it will help bridge a gender gap just a little bit more.
Banyan Tree Kidz believes in the power of STEM education. We have a curated collection of STEM kits that help introduce your child to the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math through fun and engaging learning. Every Banyan Tree Kidz box has a learning component to teach subjects like math and science, which young students sometimes find intimidating. We go beyond textbook learning and spend countless hours developing each kit to make it simple and engaging for kids to learn, explore and create. Create a comfortable and fun learning environment for your young child at home by introducing them to STEM education which will help them learn ways to adapt in the real world. Make learning an immersive experience with Banyan Tree Kidz.