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It’s no secret that STEM fields are struggling with an incredible gender gap problem. Even though they made up over half of the workforce in 2018, women only account for 46% of science professionals, 25% of computer and math professionals, 15% of engineering and architecture professionals and 10% of advanced manufacturing professionals (STEM2D.org and Luenendonk, 2020) — and those numbers aren’t exactly skyrocketing.
However, as discussed in our blog post, The Past, Present and Future of Women in STEM, there are 3 main strategies that educators can implement to help girls discover their STEM passions:
To help educators provide early exposure and hands-on experience with STEM fields and positive role models, we’ve compiled a list of 10 incredible resources for girls in STEM.
STEM Like a Girl focuses on providing girls with the right tools to develop their own STEM identity. They think the term “like a girl” should empower young girls, not intimidate them. They believe that to spark an early interest, STEM education needs to start in elementary school. STEM Like a Girl puts hands-on STEM activities into the hands of young learners to increase their self-confidence and problem-solving skills regardless of their future career path.
STEM Like a Girl focuses on three key factors: Early Exposure, Female Mentors and Parent Engagement. With affordable, research-based programs, they’re working hard to promote early elementary interest and excitement around STEM activities. By combining these three elements into approachable learning activities, they’re cultivating positive STEM identities for girls.
ChickTech is a non-profit dedicated to increasing the number of women and girls pursuing STEM-based careers and retaining women in the technology workforce. Founded in 2012, ChickTech engages women and girls of all ages in the technology industry while working to create a better technology culture for all. ChickTech has made a direct impact on tens of thousands of participants, including girls, women and men.
ChickTech provides opportunities and a supportive community to female-identifying students, professionals and companies to broaden participation in tech and provide equitable opportunities to all. Their programs include summer camps, ChickTech: High School, ChickTech: College, meetup groups for adults in tech, ACT-W Conferences and leadership seminars. Wherever possible, they partner with other organizations to expand their impact. Through inclusion, diversity, empowerment and equality, ChickTech is working to encourage early STEM inspiration.
The Smithsonian provides STEM resources for all students with the belief that firsthand experiences in STEM will empower girls and young women, setting them up to be the history-makers of tomorrow.
Through their involvement in many STEM initiatives which seek to cultivate female STEM, manufacturing and design interests at an early age, they provide a long list of FREE 1-hour STEM lessons, 15-minute activities and STEM empowerment resources.
The National Girls Collaborative Project is a charitable organization working to bring other organizations together that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.
Their goals are to:
STEM for Her is a non-profit foundation focused on championing programs and initiatives that foster enthusiasm and empower girls and young women to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and math fields of study. The Foundation offers financial support in various ways as it works toward its vision of empowering women to change the world by excelling in STEM-related careers.
STEM for Her provides critical funding for programs that foster STEM interests in girls and young women through the sponsorship of field trips, speakers, programs and curriculum development, and contributes program resources for clubs and after school groups in the D.C. Metropolitan area. These programs enable girls to explore STEM topics they might not otherwise have an opportunity to discover.
STEM for Her financial support has helped thousands of girls and women learn about the exciting opportunities available to them in STEM-related careers. Each year, STEM for Her seeks to significantly expand outreach to underprivileged and underserved girls. Staffed 100 percent by volunteers,STEM for Her is committed to helping more young women consider and thrive on STEM-related paths.
AkiraChix is an organization devoted to providing training, mentorship and outreach programs to increase the number of skilled women in technology and positively impact the community. With a vision to nurture generations of women who use tech to develop innovations and solutions for Africa, AkiraChix started small when a group of women came together and decided to work to change the landscape of the tech field.
This was the foundation of AkiraChix (Akira means energetic and intelligent in Japanese). They decided they would best impact this demographic by reaching out to young local girls from poor social and economic backgrounds who otherwise would have no chance of post-secondary education. Since its humble beginnings, AkiraChix has grown to include various other programs that impact women and tech in multiple ways.
EngineerGirl is a website designed to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities engineering represents for girls and women. Engineering and engineers are central to the process of innovation, and innovation drives economic growth. Diversity of thought is crucial to creativity, and by leaving women out of the process of innovation, we lose a key component of diversity and stifle innovation. They want the creative problem-solvers of tomorrow to fully represent the world's population because they will be the ones to ensure our health, happiness and safety in years to come.
The site was launched in 2001 with input from a specially selected Girls Advisory Board — bright, energetic girls from all over the United States and Canada. In 2012, a new Girls Advisory Board was instituted to re-design the site for a modern audience. The ongoing work of EngineerGirl is overseen by the EngineerGirl Steering Committee. The website is a service of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and grew out of the work of the NAE Committee on the Diversity of the Engineering Workforce.
Physics Girl explores the physical sciences with a variety of exciting, free videos on YouTube. The channel’s creator, Dianna Cowern, stars in each of her unique videos. In addition to her passion for making science education accessible to girls and minorities in particular, she is quite the female STEM role model. Dianna pursued a physics degree at MIT and was named one of Forbes 30 under 30!
As she asks questions and makes discoveries throughout each video, Dianna shows her female viewers that science truly is for everyone. The fun doesn’t stop there — her channel also offers videos on fun topics like Experiments You Can Try, Physics Puzzles & Riddles and Space & The Universe.
Girls Who Code is a national organization on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like. To build the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States, they offer learning opportunities for their students and alumni to deepen their computer science skills and confidence.
Girls Who Code has also created programs that foster clear pathways for middle and high school alumni who are looking to emerge into the computing world. Through a supportive sisterhood of peers and role models, Girls Who Code is working to create persistent, successful women in STEM.
Women and Drones is the largest online platform for women in the UAS industry, enabling women to connect, collaborate and make global business connections to grow their network. It’s their goal to inspire and support more females to pursue careers and opportunities in STEM and aviation.
Through drone education programs, female STEM role models and drone-powered events, Women and Drones is working to create an inclusive work environment in one of the world’s fastest-growing STEM markets.
At PCS Edventures, it’s our goal to make learning and investigation a fun, innovative and interactive experience for all. Our BrickLAB STEAMventures collections are designed to give young learners a positive STEAM experience.
By integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math into hands-on learning activities, these themed collections explore a variety of topics to help young learners discover their interests. To learn more about the included activity books, guides, resources and more, be sure to check out these incredible learning solutions:
Additionally, the BrickLAB STEAMventures Build Site is the ultimate spot to grab free resources that will help you ignite learners’ passions for STEAM. The digital choice board format makes it easy for learners of all ages to access information and activities that complement each BrickLAB STEAMventures collection. Plus, you’ll find videos organized by age group, perfect for the whole class, a small group or independent learning.
For more articles, webinars and free resources to help ignite girls’ passions for STEM, check out the following pages:
AkiraChix. (2017). Home. Retrieved July 9, 2019, from http://akirachix.com/
ChickTech. (2019). Inclusion. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from https://chicktech.org/inclusion/
Girls Who Code. (2019). About Us - Girls Who Code. Retrieved July 7, 2019, from https://girlswhocode.com/about-us/
Luenendonk, M. (2020, November 1). The latest statistics on women in Technology. ISEMAG. Retrieved January 20, 2022, from https://isemag.com/2020/10/telecom-the-latest-stats-on-women-in-tech/
National Academy of Engineering. (2019). Homepage. Retrieved July 12, 2019, from https://www.engineergirl.org/
National Girls Collaborative. (2018). Statistics. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://ngcproject.org/statistics
National Girls Collaborative. (2018). National Girls Collaborative Project |. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from http://ngcproject.org/
Physics Girl. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://physicsgirl.org/
Smithsonian. (2019, April 01). Girls and Women in STEM. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from https://ssec.si.edu/girls-and-women-in-stem
STEM for Her. (2015). Home. Retrieved July 9, 2019, from http://www.stemforher.org/
STEM Like a Girl. (2017). Our Approach. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from http://stemlikeagirl.org/our-mission/our-approach/
STEM2D.ORG. (n.d.). SPARK STEM 2 D. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://www.stem2d.org/spark/#whystem2d
Originally published July 15, 2019 by Thayne Casper
Updated on February 24, 2022 by Jessica Ventre
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