Engineering Girls’ Passion for STEM

Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai is quoted with saying, “Every girl deserves to take part in creating the technology that will change our world and change who runs it.”

Yes! The question is, how can we help instill passion in our girls to take on tech? Because the average young girl isn’t exactly jumping at the chance to learn how to code or take apart a computer. But why is that?

By now we’ve all seen the groundbreaking “Like a Girl” ad that stole the show during this year’s Super Bowl. It asked participants to illustrate what it means to do something “like a girl” and showed the effect it has on young females when people use the phrase as an insult. What made the ad particularly powerful was the way it highlighted the differences in how young women, boys and young girls perceive the phrase. And it changed the conversation of what it means — to run like a girl, fight like a girl, throw like a girl, and so on — in an effort to champion girls’ confidence.

As the executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, I was drawn in immediately by this ad. At our Girls Inc. chapter and the 80+ affiliates across the country, changing the conversation of what it means to do things “like a girl” and engraining these positive messages in our members at an early age is what we are all about. At Girls Inc., our girls DO learn to code, and they DO take apart computers.

But the barriers and biases that women and girls face (outside the doors of our organization and others like ours) continue to cause too many of them to disregard science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. —> Read More