Closing the STEM Gender Gap

According to the article NEEDED: Teachers to Encourage Girls in Math, Science, and Technology, data from the 2004 SAT test indicated that females only constitute 16% of those who plan on pursuing engineering and 14% who wish to study computer science. This huge gender gap can be traced all the way down to the elementary level, and it is up to educators to ensure that girls are given the same opportunities as boys in STEM subjects.


 Some suggestions for encouraging girls to excel in the areas of math, science, and technology are:

  • *pairing younger girls in the elementary level with older female student mentors, and even female STEM professionals (have female mathematicians, scientists, and computer programmers/web designers/digital artists participate in career days).
  • *giving girls creative freedom to explore and enjoy STEM subjects, especially when utilizing computers. According to the article Closing the Gender Gap: Girls, Technological Fluency, and PBL, simply teaching girls to use computers is not enough – they need a deeper understanding of computers and to be given the freedom to “express themselves creatively, to reformulate knowledge, and to synthesize new information.”
  • *rather than only using technology in separate computer classes, INTEGRATE computers into math class, science class, English, etc.
  • *studying famous female mathematicians and scientists in class.
  • *when mixed groups of students are working on the computers, monitor the groups to ensure girls have just as much “mouse time” as boys.

What else can we do to close the gender gap (and keep it closed!)?


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