You want the girls in your STEM program to know that they can be a scientist or engineer! So be aware of things that may unknowingly promote gender stereotypes. The environment we create in afterschool programs can bust gender stereotypes. Educators can also help parents understand ways they can encourage their girls to see themselves as capable of doing STEM. Here’s a set of tips for ways educators, families, and others can help to dismantle stereotypes:
Sometimes people say, “Women are underrepresented in STEM because they just aren’t as interested in it,” and conclude that’s just the way it is. But that ignores all the ways that interest in STEM can be shaped by experiences, beliefs, and opportunities. Research has found lots of ways to get girls more interested in STEM.
You can make a difference, and you can help more girls discover that they have a passion for STEM!
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Chestnut, E. K., Zhang, M. Y., & Markman, E. M. (2021). “Just as good”: Learning gender stereotypes from attempts to counteract them. Developmental Psychology, 57(1), 114-125.