Young girls are discouraged from pursuing careers in the STEM industry. Discouragement is due to negative beliefs about their intellectual abilities and ongoing stereotypes about people in the STEM industry being predominantly white males, socially awkward, or nerdy. While work in the STEM industry is seen as lonely and isolating. Fortunately, parents and educators have the power to do something about this issue.
Teach girls to have a growth mindset. When one has a growth mindset, they believe their abilities are not stagnant. This mindset is extremely beneficial because, it allows an individual to develop a love for learning and a level of resilience needed for success.
Show girls the value in failure. Failure is not something to be punished or avoided. It is an opportunity to learn and grow. When young girls do not succeed it is important that you practice identifying mistakes and creating strategies that will increase their level of future success.
Introduce girls to successful women, past and present. Representation matters. What an individual consumes and sees shapes their beliefs about the world, their self, and others around them. Consuming ideas that do not reflect reality is dangerous and often sends a message to individuals that they do not belong. By educating young girls about successful women in STEM you are showing them that they can make it in the STEM field and that they are welcome.
Provide girls with the opportunities and access they need to succeed. This could be as simple as getting them involved in fun activities related to the STEM field so they can grow confident in their abilities. Alternatively, you can introduce your kid to science and technology shows, play STEM games with them, and show them how STEM exists in their everyday life.
Help girls relate to people in STEM. In addition to representation, the importance of STEM careers must be realized. Showing young girls a wide variety of impactful contributions, made by individuals in the STEM, that make to our everyday lives better will increase the level of importance the STEM industry has in the minds of young girls.