Last week we shared key takeaways from Microsoft’s Closing the STEM Gap report. Through this report, we learned why girls aren’t interested in STEM classes and careers. So how can districts increase girls’ interest in STEM?
- Provide exposure to positive role models. Girls expressed that they are more likely to show interest in STEM if they have a strong female role model. Currently, most girls have a male role model leading them to think STEM roles are for men.
- Offer extracurricular STEM activities. Most students find activities more fun and engaging if they are after school. Districts can host competitions so students feel like they are working toward something.
- Provide hands-on experiences and real-world examples. When students see how their work relates to the real world, they are more likely to adapt.
- Emphasize the creative aspects of STEM. Girls typically don’t associate STEM with creativity. Since most girls like to be creative, schools should show how STEM subjects and careers require creative thinking.
- Showcase how STEM impacts the world. Girls feel more accomplished when the work they are doing makes a difference in the world. By showing the impact STEM careers have, girls will be more interested in pursuing a STEM career.
- Encourage parents and teachers to support girls. Girls will pursue STEM careers if they have the support from their parents and teachers.
- Listen. When students say a task is challenging, help them out. When students have a desire to try something different, do what you can to incorporate the activity. Students appreciate when teachers listen to what they want and will be more likely to succeed.