When you talk about science and technology, many would say it is a male-dominated field. It is rare to see women make a name in the industry and if there were women in the industry, they do not get the same attention as men do.
Girls also have the same potential to excel in science and technology. But, what can we do, as parents, to help our little girls hone their love for science?
Bias Against Girls in Science
There are many reasons why girls do not make a name in the science and technology sector. The major reason for this disparity in because there is a bias against girls in the field even at a young age.
This bias can be seen in three ways:
– The toys made for boys are often more intricate and inspires activity. By comparison, the toys made for girls are more simple and do not inspire activity or creativity.
– Boys are often encouraged to think independently. They are also often praised as smart and brave. Girls are often praised and seen as hard workers. These praises would add to the biased beliefs regarding intelligence.
– The attitude of teachers about girls doing advanced science programs can also influence how girls are treated in the industry. In one study where students have graded anonymously, the girls performed better than the boys. But, when the teachers graded their work, they graded the boys better while the girls had ordinary grades.
10 Ways to Inspire Girls
If you want to inspire your girls to push their love for science or develop their passion for the subject, here are 10 ways on how you can do it:
1. Introduce Positive Female Role Models
Even though there is bias in the STEM industry, there are women who managed to break the stereotype and became successful in the field.
Do some research about these women like Rosalind Franklin, Lise Meitner and Shirley Ann Jackson; and introduce their story to your kids.
Show how these successful women worked hard to reach their dreams so your girls have someone to look up to as they work their way to their dream.
2. Teach Your Girls to be Brave
Girls often shy away from risks and people expect them to be perfect. As a result, they do not strive hard in the things they do. It can also explain why there are only a few women who made it big in the industry.
When your child looks like they are giving up, tell them it is ok to make mistakes. Making mistakes is a part of the journey and it helps your child to learn from these mistakes. If they meet the same problem, they know what to do to correct their mistake.
You must also encourage them to keep at it if they meet a roadblock. If they know you are watching them, they will strive hard to succeed.
3. Encourage opportunities for learning science
To improve in science, your daughter must have a lot of opportunities to explore it. Let her join you growing your garden to learn more about plants. You can also take her to parks, museums and other interesting places where she can learn about science.
If you do not want to go out, sign your child up for science activity subscription boxes like Atom and the Dot. These subscription boxes would contain different science activities for your child to try out each month. You can also buy science books for your girls to read or DIY science activities.
4. Books to Inspire Science-Loving Young Girls
There are a lot of books in the market that tell stories about girls discovering the wonderful world of science. Some books even talk about the Eureka moment of female scientists and their lives.
Personally, I recommend these books for your daughters:
I Want To Be An Astronaut for 0 to 3 years old
Mae Among The Stars for 4 to 8 years old
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle for 4 to 8 years old
Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space for 7 to 12 years old
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science for 9 to 14 years old
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas for 13 years old and up
5. Teach a growth mindset
A good way to help girls grow is by helping them develop a “growth mindset.” This mindset entails that girls understand that they can still develop their talents.
When you are trying to introduce this concept with your daughter, make it a point to introduce the importance of making an effort to everything we do. Everyone needs to make an effort because if we do not, how can people succeed?
You must also make sure that you do not suggest that only girls need to work hard because of their ability.
6. Create an environment that promotes science
Some people believe that one reason women are not represented in STEM is because of their cultural and religious beliefs.
As parents, it is important that we show that STEM careers are also for girls. Besides being supportive in their pursuit of science, encourage them by conducting experiments together.
It is wonderful parent-child bonding time!
7. Combat false stereotypes about STEM
As children try to think about their future career, they may end up asking themselves if they are like the people who have their dream job. If they do not see any similarities, they may think it is not the right career for them.
For STEM careers, the media often depicts scientists and researchers as “nerds” or “weirdos.” Some even show scientists working on their own. These images act as a barrier for girls because they are looking for a crowd that they can identify with.
But, if you look beyond the media representation, you would see that today’s scientists aren’t geeky at all.
8. Take Field Trips
Schools often bring their students to interesting locations to help teach kids certain subjects.
Match these trips during your child’s vacation or for family outings by bringing your kids to parks, zoos and science museums. Ask questions, engage them with projects of your own. You can do a treasure hunt in the museum with hints from the exhibits themselves.
The key is to make these trip fun and interesting!
9. Explore Together
For kids, it is a great experience to learn with the family.
Do experiments at home and show kids that science can be done at home. As you do the experiments, guide your kids and explain the concepts they might be unfamiliar with.
Repeat the experiments from time to time, alternating between different materials and solutions.
10. Use mediums like video games and films to introduce science
Finally, you should take advantage of items like video games and films to get your child interested in science.
Children love games and there are games in the market that can motivate them to learn science. Some even show how science experiments work.
If they do not like games, you can try showing them movies about science. I highly recommend Hidden Figures.
Girls who love science and wish to pursue a career in the industry should get all the support they can get to succeed. Without support, these girls will find it difficult to push for their dreams even if they love the subject.
As parents, we must make our girls feel that they can also succeed in the field no matter what people say. A parent’s support can make a huge difference and it may be the key to your child’s success.
Looking for a way to improve your child’s science? Here are some tips: