Let’s say I gave you two toys, a Lego set and a toy doll. You had to choose to give one to your niece and one to your nephew. Who would you give what gift to?
We automatically assume anything that has to do with caretaking or beauty is for females; anything that has to do with building is for males. This stereotype starts at a young age and continues to isolate and stifle adolescents throughout their lives.
Gender bias in STEM fields
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields have traditionally been viewed as careers for males. Despite over half of all college students being female, only one third of STEM undergraduate students are females. Girls are encouraged to go into fields such as teaching or nursing, while boys are pushed toward careers in math or science. This mindset continues even in today’s increasingly gender-equal culture.
Encouraging adolescents to pursue their dreams and interests will not only benefit them, but also benefit the entire nation.
Education for girls
Adolescent girls who might be interested in technology or another STEM field are not being encouraged enough. Their curiosity is being stifled due to stereotypes. A teen’s desire is to fit in with peers. If all the girls in the class hate dissecting the frog in science class, a young girl might adopt her friends’ disgust in order to not stand out.
Limiting our nation’s potential
Encouraging education for girls in all fields of study not only benefits them, but also benefits our entire society.
“If we can’t embrace the most basic level of diversity, then we’ve squandered half of the brain power available to us to make the world a better place.” – Adriane Brown, President & COO of Intellectual Ventures
If we encourage a choice of career or interest based on someone’s gender, we limit the potential for advancement. The continuance of innovation and ingenuity relies on a diverse involvement. The next great technological invention could be in the brain of a young girl, one who might not choose to try if the STEM stereotypes continue.
Encouraging education for girls
While some girls will naturally be drawn to the STEM fields, through a computer or science class at school, some girls might need encouragement before developing an interest. Teenlife.com suggests enrolling her in a hands-on STEM program and introducing her to female professionals. Allow your daughter to explore and be adventurous in her interests; make sure she knows it is okay to be different and not pick an interest based on what someone thinks she “should” do.
Therapeutic boarding school focuses on education for girls
Asheville Academy gives female adolescents encouragement and skills needed to succeed in whatever they choose to do. The limits that they or others put on themselves are taken away, giving them a time to shine.
We promote not only the importance of education for girls, but also the importance for personal and social development, as well. Having an all-female population, girls are less distracted and have more opportunities for leadership, special interests and socialization.
For more information on AAG and to learn about our focus on education for girls, call us today at 800-264-8709.