by Kara Chyung
In honour of Grace Hopper, an American computer scientist and Navy rear admiral whose 107th birthday would have been on Monday, I thought this week would be an appropriate time to raise the issue of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers.
Math has always been my favorite subject. I used to think my interest in math stemmed (see what I did there?!) from a desire for concrete answer, but I’ve realised that what I enjoy most is the process of solving the puzzle. As I go through high school and begin to think about college, I find myself strongly considering a career in mathematics or technology.
Recently, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine about the challenges women seeking a career in the sciences face. While often there are not rules strictly prohibiting women from pursuing STEM careers, the numbers show that the feeling of exclusivity in an all-boys class and a lack of encouragement from professors have deterred women from taking their studies in STEM fields beyond the undergraduate level. The circumstances have improved since the time that the author was in college, but there still is a lack of girls aspiring to these careers.
The article also mentions that girls are not introduced to STEM fields at a young age, so even if they develop any interest in science and math later on, it is often too late. Fortunately, there are many programs to get girls interested in STEM fields and promoting STEM education. Read about the organisations listed below.
Remember, a woman can do anything that a man can do, including programming computers or solving calculus problems!
Check out these links to find out more about STEM education for girls!
Girls Who Code: A nonprofit organisation that promotes girls’ education in computer science. Girls Who Code offers an intensive 8-week long Summer Immersion program that exposes girls to careers in technology.
The National Girls Collaborative Project: An organisation that helps bring girls together across the United States on STEM projects. The National Girls Collaborative Project currently has 28 Collaboratives serving 38 states.
Girlstart: A community-based organisation based in Austin, Texas, that seeks to spark girls’ interest in STEM through year-round education and programs.
Girls Scouts’ Imagine Engineering: Imagine Engineering seeks to educate girls about engineering careers and helps link girls and their families to STEM opportunities and organisations.