Friday, April 26, 2013

Why so Few? Women in Science and Engineering

Hello World!
Have you ever wondered why there are so few women in STEM? Well this report will tell you why AND give you activities to remedy that! It discusses "eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities".

A few highlights from the report

-The learning environment influences girls’ achievement in math. For example, if teachers reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls, girls perform poorly, but if teachers tell students that girls and boys are equally capable in math, the difference in performance disappears

-A "growth mindset" is the belief that intellectual capacity can be improved. This mindset will facilitate improved math performance. To encourage this mindset, teach girls that intellectual skills are acquired and that attitudes of flexibility, persistance, embracing and learning from mistakes, and taking inspiration from the success of others will help them achieve mastery of any material.  

-There exists bias with regard to women and STEM. Bias has an influence on performance. Bias can be conscious or unconscious, measured, and targeted for change. To test your bias go To counteract bias, refer to the data showing equal capability between boys and girls in STEM, and remind students STEM is learned, not innate.

-Girls have a tendency to few their performance harshly, even when it such harsh views are not warranted. It is important to view performance objectively.

-Spatial skills can be improved with a simple training course. More information about this course can be found here, and here

I hope this is helpful to you. If you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you, please share! I know that a simple statement such as "have you thought about chemistry? or designing race cars?" or any number of STEM careers can go a long way. It did for me! :)


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