Attracting and Retaining Women and Girls in STEM: Building a pathway to high-paying, high-skilled jobs for women and girls, the Administration has featured competitive preference for inspiring and engaging girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the President’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top program, the 2013 Youth Career Connect grants to redesign high schools so that students complete prepared for college and career, and additional education reform programs. Federal agencies have deployed their STEM workforce and have partnered with the private sector to increase mentorship of girls and women in STEM, for example, by DOE forming new partnerships with 100kin10 and US2020 to reach classrooms and mentors, respectively, with their Women @ Energy series profiling women in STEM careers to inspire the next generation of energy scientists and engineers. Supporting and retaining America’s female scientists and engineers was a focus of the June 2014 White House Summit on Working Families at which NSF announced implementation nearly a year ahead of schedule of cost allowance policies for childcare at professional conferences that lesson the challenges for working families and NIH released a comprehensive summary of research on barriers and opportunities to attract and retain women in biomedical science careers and is using that evidence base to guide Administration policies to broaden participation and success of women in STEM fields.
Six years ago, I became the mother of a daughter. My family became complete. I looked down at this perfect little person and wondered who she would become. Would she be confident, kind, smart, athletic? Would she be funny? Would she be an educator like her mother or a business person like her father?
As time wore on, I thought about the opportunities my son might have that may not be as readily available to my daughter. Is there equality in all sectors? Part of my role as a parent is to make opportunities for my children and guide them to make good choices. I want to explore options that will make both of my children successful in whatever field they choose. But I do not want society to limit those options.
As my children entered school, I started to think more about STEM. Do you know what STEM stands for? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-the fields that are under-represented by women. Girls start to disengage in STEM related activities around the 7th grade. AHHH! How can this happen? How can girls drop out of the game before it even started? Are they getting messages to discourage them from pursuing these fields?
Whether you like President Obama’s politics or not, you have to respect him for the following quote:
I didn’t run for President so that the dreams of our daughters could be deferred or denied. I didn’t run for President to see inequality and injustice persist in our time. I ran for President to put the same rights, the same opportunities, and the same dreams within the reach for our daughters and our sons alike. I ran for President to put the American Dream within the reach of all of our people, no matter what their gender, or race, or faith, or station.” President Barack Obama, March 8, 2010
As a parent, I have chosen to teach my daughter about the value in scientific thinking. We do extra-curricular math called Russian Math to give her new skills and confidence. We talk about how things work.
Did you know PBS put out a list of toys that encourage STEM? http://www.pbs.org/parents/holidays/holiday-gift-guide/holiday-gift-guide-stem-tastic-toys/ Toys like Goldie Bloxs and littleBits circuits engage kids in creative discovery. But there are not enough of these toys! We need more, which is why I am working on a new project called Little Ms. Crates. Stay tuned for more information about this great learning tool as we develop it!
We all need to look out for the girls. We need more women to strive for excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The President made it part of the National agenda.
Read about these other great website that are designed to help girls continue to be engaged in STEM. And get involved!
And if you see my daughter, you can wish her a Happy Birthday too!