How can we motivate more young women to pursue a career in the technology field?
Typically in the engineering fields their are more men then women. How can we get more women to pursue this career?
4 experts and 1 parent have answered
There are lots of great resources to find ways to help girls see Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as rewarding careers.
Tricia Berry, who runs the Women's Engineering Program at the University of Texas at Austin has some great resources on their website: http://www.engr.utexas.edu/wep/
It often comes down to the understanding that one of the most effective ways for girls to make the world a better place is to be part of creating the solutions and exposure to what kinds of jobs are available.
I have always told my children that whatever they enjoy is actually part of STEM careers. So if they really like drawing then I let them know that drawing is key to chemistry, engineering, etc. If they like creative problem solving then that is basically inherent to all of the STEM careers.
If your child loves music then talk to them about the ways that music and math are intertwined. If they love to argue then perhaps instead of suggesting law you could suggest engineering which requires arguing for why you think your solution is best and then working with a group to come up with a solution. Kids with good social skills who love reading would be a real asset to a research team.
Most parents don't know the wide variety of careers available in STEM fields, which vary from video game designer to contagious disease research to robotics and beyond.
This is also where most of the jobs will be coming from in the future so children need to be aware of the possibilities so they can be employable.
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Great question and it's something that is getting much more attention these days as there is such a shortage generally of young people coming through into STEM careers.
For several years now Teen Tech has been running events across the UK to help young teenagers look at the wide range of possible career opportunities open to them in Science, Engineering and Technology. They run hands on events and activities which whilst not specifically promoted at girls, is inclusive and seems to have a high number of girls participating in them.
There was a very interesting article in the Huffington Post recently about how influential home life is in encouraging girls into these areas, and it won't come as any surprise that I agree with this. As parents, one of the best things we can do, of course, is to be an effective role model, so in this case it's about showing and encouraging an interest in all things STEM (learn together if needs be), nurture talent, and provide as many opportunities as possible to explore opportunities to innovate and meet women already working in those fields.
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First and foremost we need to stop with the integration of blatantly militant feminism into the pursuit of brighter and intellectual futures for our children. Girls already outperform boys in science at GCSE's and female doctors are set to outnumber male doctors by 2017. There is no lack of women in the majority of STEM careers as the work of feminism decades ago has already brought about equality in most of those careers.
It is now time we work to educate both boys and girls fully and effectively and give them both the same tools to seek STEM careers while ensuring women within existing STEM careers are given the tools and ability to raise to the most senior levels where there is still a clear disparity between males and females.
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We can motivate everyone to pursue a technology career by downgrading arithmetic. Mathematics is the basis of science and technology and arithmetic is the basis of mathematics. In the 19th century arithmetic was the gateway to higher math and education has now outgrown that obsolete notion. Two simple changes are sufficient.
1) Substitute estimation for arithmetic. Teach students how to make accurate estimates rather than absolute accuracy. Usually this is sufficient. If absolute accuracy is required, we do not want to depend on mental arithmetic. Would you hire an accountant who did your taxes "in his or her head" rather than a computer.
2) Teach mathematics on a spread sheet where the arithmetic does not interfere with the mathematical concepts. As a simple example: A student can answer the question: If a car goes 20 mph for 3 hours, how far does it travel. The same student who has a problem with the question: If a car goes 20.56 mph for 3.09 hours. The student still knows the concept, but the arithmetic gets in the way.
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- Celebrate the storytelling of STEM. Girls hunger for narratives.
- Related to #1: make sure we celebrate women in science fiction.
- Don't support anti-STEM girls' cultural features.