Why STEM is Important?
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs specifically focused on women and girls provide confidence, an innovative spirit, and the necessary skills needed to compete in the workforce.
- Right now, for the most part, we are missing out on the valuable perspectives that 50% of the population might bring to designing the technology of the future. Increasing girls' participation in computing is important for promoting equity and ensuring that girls are able to take advantage of these jobs and the opportunities they make possible. (Source: NCWIT – Girls in IT)
- Girls indicated in interviews that their interest in computing classes was influenced by social factors like their perceptions of the climate of the computer lab and whether classes were being dominated by boys or by the presence of friends; 47% of all girls said that they would feel uncomfortable being the only girl in a group or class. (Source: NCWIT – Girls in IT)
- Girls interested in STEM like to understand how things work (87% vs. 65% non-STEM girls), solve problems (85% vs. 70% non-STEM girls), do hands-on activities (83% vs. 56% non-STEM girls), and ask questions (80% vs.54% non-STEM girls). (Source: Girl Scouts – Generation STEM)
- Girls interested in STEM are better students and more academically engaged overall than non-STEM girls. STEM girls have higher interest in most academic subjects, including non-STEM subjects such as social studies and foreign languages. STEM girls have higher self-reported grades in STEM subjects than non-STEM girls, as well as higher self-reported overall grades (3.65 for STEM girls vs. 3.52 for non-STEM girls). (Source: Girl Scouts – Generation STEM)
- If girls grow up in an environment that enhances their success in science and math with spatial skills training, they are more likely to develop their skills as well as their confidence and consider a future in a STEM field. Exposing girls to successful female role models can help counter negative stereotypes because girls see that people like them can be successful and stereotype threat can be managed and overcome. (Source: AAUW – Why So Few?)
- In 2009-2010, females made up less than 25% of participants in science, technology, engineering, and math programs nationally (21% at the secondary level and 24% at the post-secondary level).(Source: Department of Education – Gender Equity in Education)
STEM Vital Signs: Change the Equation