STEM is an acronym referring to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. According to a 2010 report titled Why So Few Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the AAUW (American Association of University Women):
The number of women in science and engineering is growing, yet men continue to outnumber
women, especially at the upper levels of these professions. In elementary, middle, and high
school, girls and boys take math and science courses in roughly equal numbers, and about as
many girls as boys leave high school prepared to pursue science and engineering majors in
college. Yet fewer women than men pursue these majors. Among first-year college students,
women are much less likely than men to say that they intend to major in science, technology,
engineering, or math (STEM). By graduation, men outnumber women in nearly every science
and engineering field, and in some, such as physics, engineering, and computer science, the
difference is dramatic, with women earning only 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees. Women’s
representation in science and engineering declines further at the graduate level and yet again
in the transition to the workplace.
1. Make Them Cool
Find ways of making STEM cool in your daughter’s eyes. Go to a cool exhibit, use Pinterest and Google to find great electronics and science activities and keep up the positive rhetoric surrounding STEM.
2. Stop Saying You Hate Math
I am as guilty of this as the next person, but STOP saying you hate math. I know that I was formed early by my mother’s hatred of math and thought that it wasn’t something women were good at – so stop saying it. Involve your daughter in your day to day math activities and allow her to help pay the bills.
3. Encourage Participation
There are a lot of school and community organizations that support STEM activities! Allow your daughter to get involved in these, in fact, encourage it!
4. Get hooked up with a female who has made a career in STEM
Find a mentor for your daughter (or son) in a STEM field. Use LinkedIN to set up a phone call or a meeting with a willing STEM professional.
Check out these organizations: Women can visit the websites of
multiple professional organizations such as the Society of Women
Engineers, Women in Technology International, Association for Women in
Mathematics and Association of Women in Science, to name just a few.