STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM industries need more women. FACT.
Did you know that “There is a huge drop off in the number of girls studying core STEM subjects at the age of 16. Just 35% of girls choose maths, physics, computing or a technical vocational qualification compared to 94% of boys. This reduces the number going on to do a degree or level 4 qualification in maths, physics, computer science or engineering – 9% of girls compared to 29% of boys.” as told by the Wise Campaign.
This needs to change. It starts with the young girls of today. How amazing would it be to have a female version of the Inventor Steve Jobs or even the renowned computer programmer – Mark Zuckerberg? How about a famous female UK astronaut that could discover the deeper depths of space, where no MAN has been before? Part of the challenge of getting girls excited about STEM is the general misconception that it’s reserved for boys.
Thankfully the young girls of today have some amazing STEM role models like Mayim Bialik, aka Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler from the ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Mayim is a famous Neuroscientist as well as an actress. She has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and she has taught for numerous years. She has given public lectures about the importance of investing in STEM careers and research. Mayim recently told CNBC “I arrived late to science, actually. It wasn’t something I had a natural affinity for and growing up, I always thought it was for boys.” She has proved them wrong and continues to inspire young female minds.
We have to break the stereotyping of “Girls like pink” “Science is for boys” “Girls can’t do that it’s a boy thing”.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Primo is launching the Girls Coding Campaign #codinggirls. Primo want young girls to be inspired by the STEM subjects.
Primo sent me some questions to ask my daughter and a few activities to try.
My daughter is six years old and absolutely loves school, she is a bright cookie. She loves all subjects and speaks about science a lot. She has a very inquisitive mind and learns by doing. Active is an understatement, she doesn’t sit still. She takes after her dad and is very tech minded, and loves her games and tablet – this is highly restricted. So when we had a rare, quiet few minutes I took the chance to ask her the questions.
What do they enjoy about being a girl?
“I like having long hair and I can run fast”
Have they ever been told they can’t do anything because they’re a girl?
” Yes! Girls cant run fast, and I’m not good at science because its just for boys”
What do you want to be when you grow up?
“I really want to be a science teacher or an Athlete and do the Winter Olympics.”
Which woman/girl inspires them the most and why?
Once I had explained what this question meant “Granny, Grandma, and you Mummy because you all cook amazing recipes, and you spend time with me, kind, caring, funny and work really hard.”
What do you know about computer programming/coding?
“I don’t know what that is, daddy will know though he loves computers doesn’t he.”
What activity did you enjoy the most in our guide to coding for kids book and why?
“I liked you being a robot mummy, and not making the cake properly… also I love scratch Jr thank you for putting it on my tablet, didn’t even know you could get this.”
I also asked her Do you think girls can do the same things as boys? “Yes, boys and girls are the same, boys can do girl things, and girls can do boy things”
I then proceeded to ask her What makes something a boy thing or a girl thing? I don’t know it just is, lots of boys do one thing, and girls do another thing.You know when there is more boys doing something it’s a boy thing”
This is really interesting because even now she perceives certain activities to be more related to boy or girls.
Stereotyping is being picked up from such young ages, and it can be damaging to children’s confidence. Children are like sponges and learn quickly during their early years than at any other time in their lives and these repeated messages help form deep-seated beliefs and thoughts that can be very difficult to change.