Women and girls who are standing up to STEM education inequality
Inspire your kids, especially girls, to conquer STEM inequality like these role models. Meet the adults and kids who are making a difference.
A mere 28% of STEM jobs are held by women. The gender gaps are glaring. Research across the board shows how traditional education continually fails girls when it comes to encouraging and preparing them for careers in the growing and high-paying fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
STEM inequality is a complicated systemic issue. Research shows it’s more difficult for women to get into STEM, and they’re more likely to be pushed out of STEM, especially women of color. But research also shows that stereotypes and the environment matter and that breaking those barriers makes a difference in outcomes.
For example, girls are conditioned to doubt their math abilities and hold themselves to a higher standard than their male peers. But “when teachers and parents tell girls that their intelligence can expand with experience and learning, girls do better on math tests and are more likely to say they want to continue to study math in the future.”
The bottom line for parents is that kids, especially girls, need more STEM And STEAM opportunities, encouragement, and role models. They’re simply not getting enough from traditional education.
So today, we’re celebrating people who are going outside the box to make sure girls are given the education they deserve.
Meet adult STEM role model: Xyla Foxlin
At Outschool’s upcoming Edventure conference, we have a couple of extraordinary guests.
(We also love her PROPer Woman art.)
During her keynote, Xyla will show young girls worldwide that how they present themselves has no bearing on their technical skills.
Showing your kids, especially your daughters, role models like Xyla is a great way to demonstrate how they can thrive in STEM. Better yet, try re-creating one of her activities together.
Meet kid STEM role model: Victoria McLeod
She also won 3rd place for the Middle School category in the 2022 EngineerGirl Writing Contest with her incredible Coral Innovators essay. Victoria’s obvious passion for marine biology and protecting coral wildlife make for a riveting read.
Watch Victoria’s video to hear why she believes engineers are so crucial.
Victoria is an inspiring reminder of the power of peer role models. When kids see other kids taking advantage of opportunities, learning something new, and overcoming, it’s pretty incredible.
It’s vital kids learn from peers they identify with. Finding kids like them might mean peers of the same gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or even schooling style.
For example, as Victoria’s mother, Ty, pointed out, “Homeschoolers rarely ever see other kids like themselves applying and winning contests that the average school student takes advantage of, so they just don't apply.”
What can parents do about the STEM gap?
Show them what’s possible
Since women have a harder time getting into and staying in STEM, one of the best things you can do is to give your daughters role models.
Seeing amazing adults like Xyla shows girls what they can do and who they can become. Even if they face discrimination and challenges, they know it’s possible because they’ve seen people who have made it happen.
Whether it’s a fun YouTube channel, podcast, or career prep class, you can use your power as a parent to help widen your kid's perspective.
Help them connect with passionate peers
Of course, adult role models aren’t the only ones who count. Hearing stories like Victoria’s shows kids what they can do now. They don’t have to be something different or wait until they’re all grown up.
Give them (fun) resources
Hard-hitting STEM subjects don’t have to be stressful or intimidating for parents or kids.
Whatever it looks like for your family, you have the options and power to make STEM more accessible. Thank you to Xyla, Victoria, and all the other inspiring change-makers who remind us not to be satisfied with the status quo.