Bridging the Gap: How Parents and Teachers Can Foster Girls' Interests in Programming and STEM Education
Today’s number of female computer science professionals is rapidly shrinking. Females also have a slimmer population within the highest-paying jobs of different STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. In this case, the community must straighten up the gender stereotyping in careers related to STEM education.
Are women really for computer science?
Confusions of this matter may arise due to the common idea of “male-only for science.” However, a long list of evidence in history proves how women nail the world of computer programming and STEM-careers.
Back in the 1990s, about 35% of computer science workers consisted of female professionals. Besides that, even the first computer program was known to be created by a woman named Ada Lovelace. Other than this famous name of Lovelace, females’ names have built incredible inventions and development in computer science. Some of these names are Grace Hopper, Katherine Johnson, Margaret Hamilton, Stephanie Shirley, and Megan Smith.
But even with all of these women’s successes, why are today's generation of women still hesitant to commit to STEM-related careers?
Why are females in STEM careers short-numbered?
According to a study in 2016, STEM graduates have 63% male and only 37% of females. It is clearly shown that most of the programming and software developing workforce are covered by males.
Plenty of theories were discussed to identify the roots of why women are not pursuing STEM education. Others normalise the perception that STEM fields are for the masculine type. There is also a lack of encouragement and recognition to the women in these fields. Moreover, introductory classes for computer programming are much more directed to men than women. Women also might not be interested in higher education to get high paying jobs. Lastly, the STEM skill preparatory stages for the parents and teachers are missing.
Regardless of any of these reasons, STEM careers must still be filled up by strong independent women. Women should welcome the thought to take and pursue this path just like the powerful women in the field of computer science.
So what can you do to help bridge the gender gap in computer science? How could parents, teachers, and authorities help in inviting girls to take STEM courses?
#1 Early exposure to kids coding and STEM skills
Parents and teachers should start teaching STEM to kids at an early age . As you begin introducing to them the world of programming and STEM, it will shape their minds to take that path. You can start by giving your girls some tech, engineering, and coding toys. You may also allow them to play logic and build games on their gadgets. Other than that, you can try playing indoor and outdoor games that are related to computer programming for kids.
If your kid started to learn these kids coding skills and STEM skills, they might enjoy it as early as possible. Eventually, they will choose this path in their middle school, high school, college, and future profession.
#2 Intellectual tasks and assignments solving
At home, you can bring out problem-solving tasks to your child. It will help them analyse everything and try to solve it independently. You can also give real-life situations that possibly need a deep understanding and logical interpretation. On the other hand, teachers at school can also provide challenging assignments and group works to tickle the kid’s imagination. Teachers who give this kind of task let both boys and girls be creative and innovative. You also practise their STEM skills while allowing them to work on a specific task.
If parents and teachers introduce these awesome tasks to girls, they will know that they excel in STEM subjects and apply the concepts independently. Girls would realise they are not just limited to take arts, music, or medicine.
#3 Motivating environment to gain confidence
Parents and teachers must stop gender stereotyping at home or school. They must not prioritise male in joining STEM activities. Whether it is about experimenting, coding, robotics, or any technological classes, girls should still be involved in it. Moreover, girls should not be treated as an outcast. They should let them experience new things in the world of programming and STEM.
#4 Women in STEM-field examples
As mentioned above, many women took STEM careers, and some are really successful. If you let your girls know about these strong women programmers, it might encourage them to try the field. You can even mention these mighty women’s inspiring stories, which will serve as role models to your girls.
Older females must also give good examples to young ladies. They should not limit them in specific fields, rather help them spread their wings into the path of computer science.
#5 Computer Science and STEM field trips, workshops, and seminars
Kids who explored the world of computer science will really gain interest in the course. So, let your girls join educational trips in the Science museums, technological conventions, or even engineering galleries. They can also watch some seminars or try a one-day workshop about programming and robotics for kids. Through these simple and quick events, your child will open their minds to the fascinating field of computer science.
#6 Extracurricular Activities and Afterschool Activities
Girls can participate in extracurricular activities like coding classes for kids. They can also join some after school care programs such as robotics classes for kids or computer classes for kids. Moreover, you can register your child into kids coding camps.
Through these activities, your young lady will see how to play with kids coding toys, online programming software, and even design their applications. As they begin to conquer this STEM field, they will appreciate it more. Your young woman will give so much time and interest in computer programming and STEM fields’ exciting ventures.
Make Your Girl A Young Coder Today
Sign up their names with Skill Samurai, an afterschool care program worldwide, recently opened in Sydney, that inspires young men and women to try coding classes for kids. They play popular games for kids such as Roblox, Minecraft, and Scratch. It will help them learn the basics of computer science with its career-ready curriculum. Young boys and girls ages 7 to 18 are very welcome to join Skill Samurai.
Explore Skill Samurai's coding for kids classes now.
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