The statistics surrounding STEM education and jobs in the US are rather staggering to me. The latest that I’ve read indicate that US students are still trailing WAY behind other nations in Science and Math education (US ranks 47th in Math and Science education quality, and 78% of high school graduates don’t meet the standard levels for at least one entry level STEM class). To top it off, there’s a pretty strong gender divide in the STEM subjects: Many fewer girls are interested in even studying these subjects, and they don’t feel at all confident about their skills.
So how do we get more girls interested in STEM subjects and get them feeling confident that they can rock out in awesome, fun, high-paying, important and interesting careers that are still largely dominated by men? There are a number of great resources out there aimed at exactly that. We’ve collected a list of some of our favorites below. There are probably more out there than you even think – we’ve left out resources that are very specific to one location, but if you want to search in your area specifically, a quick web search will yield a number of results (in our experience!). If you think there’s a great resource that we’re forgetting, please let us know!
Black Girls Code is an organization that unsurprisingly, aims to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. They offer some pretty awesome events and classes, and the blog portion of their site offers great reflections and information.
Tech giant Microsoft offers several programs under the umbrella of DigiGirlz. They offer online courses, a high-tech camp for girls, and a ‘DigiGirlz Day’ where girls can arrange to visit Microsoft locations to see what careers in the high tech industry are all about.
The Center for STEM Education For Girls is associated with the Harpeth Hall School (an all girls school in TN), and they’re working to is create a transformation on the educational opportunities for girls by establishing The Center for STEM Education for Girls to increase participation by girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math studies in high school and college and to encourage them to aspire to STEM careers. They also offer a Think Tank and Conference yearly.
Engineer Girl is a project of the National Academy of Engineering, directed at bringing more young girls to engineering careers. They have a bright and fun website filled with useful tools including a ‘try on a career’ section, information about what engineers can do, and real-life stories from actual female engineers.
The National Girls Collaborative Project works to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. They offer a program directory for you to find local programs, listings of related events, and a robust program to try and educate teachers and counselors to guide students towards rewarding STEM careers.
The National Center For Women & Information Technology offers several programs to encourage women to participate in technology based careers. The programs target high school and college aged girls, and offer guidance, scholarships, encouragement, and internships. They even offer programs for counselors to help equip them with the knowledge they need to encourage students towards tech careers.
Dot Diva is an initiative sponsored by WGBH, and their mission is to create an exciting and positive image of computing for high school girls. They’re working to showcase women in technology careers and show how a technology career can really fit into any passion that the student already has. They also offer lots of great resources for classes, after school opportunities, computer camps, college programs, careers, and more.