Why are Girls Losing Interest in STEM?

         Young girls around the grades of 6th grade have begun to lose interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math,) and this is a big problem due to the fact of the generic issues that have caused this to occur. These influences have great significance for girls and for how we, as a society can end this trend. If we do not address this problem, a females’ input into STEM subjects will be gone, and women will continue to be even more underestimated than they already are in this day and age.

        There are many causes that drive girls at an early age to begin disliking STEM classes; so what is the problem that our society is facing, and why is it so important? To begin, young girls are losing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at a rapid pace. An Iowa State University study written by Carol Heaverlo said, “…while girls are performing as well as boys in math and science, there is a distinct loss in interest and lack of confidence in STEM areas that begin early on in their academic experience.” Girls from ages 10 to 16 are losing their confidence, and with that lack of confidence interest in STEM classes. The Iowa State University study proved that when given the same critical thinking test as boys, the girls were just as good as the boys; but when encouraged, the chance to chose to do an extracurricular activity )involving science, math, engineering, or technology) girls tended to avoid it.To continue,, there are many females who have been representing women in the stem fields, but there are very few taught in textbooks. When searched on google “famous engineers, mathematicians, and scientists,” only 1 woman out of 21 total people appeared for all three of the fields, 4 women out of 56 people total for  famous scientists, and 3 women engineers out of 54 total people. A study done by the Girl Scouts Organization says, “Over the past 50 years, women in the United States have made great strides in education…despite these advances, women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, collectively referred to as “STEM.” This may seem just like any other minority group, but it is not. Girls look at the past and it influences them today. If girls only see famous men doing the work, while women cook, clean, and are assistants of powerful men, no girl will aspire to be one of the powerful people that we see in history books and online. Lastly, While some people believe that young girls losing their interest in stem subjects is not important, that is incorrect due to the fact that the young girls of today will shape our future. The Girl Scouts study explains, “STEM education has become a top priority of the United States government and national organizations, which recognize the need to expand opportunities for STEM involvement and to fill STEM jobs in this country.” If not enough women fill STEM jobs, there will be a decrease in people to fill those jobs, considering there are about as many women in the world as men. These are also very important jobs, not just to women, but to everyone, including our government. This will result in many struggles throughout our economy if women are not involved in STEM jobs.

Gender Education

        There are many influences girls have growing up, a lot of which they begin to look up to at a young age, and that alter their perspective on the world. Girls listen to the negative social media, the positive information, and the negative. Girls also look up to famous people. If all girls see a model, that is all they will aspire to. Miribel Tran explains, “The media advertises Photo shopped images of models that often influences girls to believe that if they buy this product or clothing of theirs, they will achieve a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction…” This makes girls think that being famous, and pretty, and should be prioritized ahead of a good quality education. This is what is happening in our society, and i as a young woman, have experienced the influences that social media projects. To continue, Young girls look to adults for inspiration, and it will affect how they act in their older age. Paula Golden says on Huffington post, “Middle school also is a time when kids look to adults other than their parents for inspiration. The impression made by an adult teacher, mentor, friend or acquaintance can be indelible and also drive academic choices going forward.”If girls see a powerful women, they will most likely aspire to be similar to them. Morgan explains how her parents influenced her by getting her any toy, not just a “girl” toy. This then allowed her to gain knowledge about engineering and expand her critical thinking skills. Morgan DiCarlo shares a Ted talk where she explains how her parents got her any type of toy growing up,including blocks and building sets. This greatly influenced her growing up as a woman.The “pink section,” is one of the things that influences the young girls the most, beginning at an early stage. The pink toys are supposedly girl toys, such as dolls, while the boys toys are blue and red and targeted to address their thinking skills. There are so many influences that girls are affected by. It also will pave the path that a young girl will follow throughout her life.

kids

        This reoccurring problem is not the girls fault, it is the fault of society. So our society has to be the one to stop this trend from becoming worse. A researcher speaks out to inform everyone of the problem we face, and why it is so important. Christianne Corbett, senior researcher, American Association of University Women (AAUW) said,“I was encouraged to see that helping people was the most important factor in choosing a career and that more STEM girls than non-STEM girls were ‘most interested’ in making a difference in the world.” To help girls understand what engineering is, and why it is important, people are speaking out, to not only inspire the girls,but to make a change. Debbie is doing a similar thing,she tells how she managed to become an engineer and how she was able to deal with the fact that she was part of a minority. Debbie explains that it’s hard to get girls into looking at engineering, so her goal is to inspire a new generation of girls to become engineers and follow their own path. Speaking out to reach audiences, especially when it is put online, is the best way to reach young girls to give them information that is crucial to their everyday life. Lastly, while some may think that this issue we have is not going to affect our society, if girls are discouraged to not make a change, then there will be little positive change in our world. The Girl Scouts Organization elaborates, “Girls want to change the world, and help people. Eighty-eight percent of all girls want to make a difference in the world, and 90% want to help people. Traditionally, they achieve this through careers working with people and are less likely to consider careers that use technology and scientific expertise to change the way things are done, to improve the environment, to make people healthier, or to make life more efficient. We have to make sure that we are making it visible to girls that being a strong leader is important, and without it, not only our community will suffer, but our world and economy.

        The girls of today are the leaders of our tomorrow. When they begin to distance themselves from science, technology, engineering, and math, it is caused by all of the influences that have been affecting the girls without many other people knowing about it, including gender roles, and what they learn in school. This is a reoccurring problem that needs to end; and girls need to understand how necessary it is for them to follow their passion, whether it is art, journalism, science, or mathematics. Our community cannot continue to underestimate young girls, and all females; and it cannot continue be wrong for girls to participate in STEM curriculum.

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