Six Ways to Engage Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Although in recent years science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs have become increasingly popular, many studies show girls still lag behind boys in STEM fields. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported, “the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development used results from a 2012 assessment given to about a half-million 15-year-olds around the world, and found that even though more boys struggled to show basic proficiency in reading, math and science than did girls, boys still ultimately outperformed girls in math.”

[Related: President Obama Announces Over $240 Million Pledge for STEM Education]

The most obvious question–“What prevents our young women from becoming leaders in STEM fields? “How can we help bridge the gap in STEM careers?” On one hand, the ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behavior and Confidence says that gender bias, conscious and unconscious, among parents, teachers and employers is partly responsible.  On the other hand, there are other studies from organizations such as the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which suggest as an irrelevant curriculum, and reliance on lecturing instead of hands-on projects is to blame. Whichever side of the spectrum you might be on, by using the “It take a village” approach, parents, friends, family members and educators can start by collectively addressing the gender gap. Here are some options to consider:

1. Talk with girls about why they should consider a career in STEM.

2. Provide hands-on experiences in technology and computing.

3. Make sure organizations and school administrators are aware of the need for programs and practices that will retain young women who choose computing.

Additionally, Intel, a manufacturer of semiconductor computer chips, conducted a new study on engaging girls in technology and created the infographic which suggest “making” is a great way to interest girls and women in computer science and engineering activities. Check out Intel’s findings and 6 tips to engage girls below.