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Encouraging girls in math and science

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Replies to: Encouraging girls in math and science

  • KimberlyLailaKimberlyLaila 214 replies8 threads Junior Member
    And In general, I feel like the S In STEM in being considered lesss just because we need more TEM workers. I say we need more of ALL of them,wheter S,T,E,or M! Who's with meh? =D>
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  • LAMunivLAMuniv 1433 replies71 threads Senior Member
    @Much2learn sorry, you made me realise that I forgot part of my post! I meant also to mention that in my 16 years of wanting to be a science major, I've never once felt discouraged from doing so, and the vast majority of my female friends studying engineering agree. There is a very strong presence of organisation dedicated to ENCOURAGING women to study STEM, even. Obviously, there are individuals who may deter girls from STEM, but there will always be those types of horrible, close-minded people.

    I've honestly felt more... eh... "persecuted" as an English major than as a STEM major... ever since I started telling people I want to major in English, I've experienced hardly anything but discouragement.

    I realise that it's a logical fallacy to say that mine own experiences are typical of the general population, but I think it's difficult to find statistics discussing encouragement rather than discouragement.

    Sorry if there are any typos; I'm typing from my phone. :)
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
     i personaly prefer the life sciences bcuz it's more interesting and has more implications to help the world solve problems rather some person typing on a computer screen all day or working on a math problem

    Then u have a very limited understanding of what engineering & physical science contributes.
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  • deb922deb922 6459 replies202 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    I have a D who is an engineer. She's a tiny, attractive girl with long red hair. I do think she has a hard time getting respect from her peers. I know that in group projects in college, where she was usually the only female, she did have problems with the men in her group listening to her and giving her respect. She's pretty shy also, so I know she probably is not great advocating for herself.

    She was not put into accelerated math in junior high. "There just isn't room for another student", I was told. We kept advocating for her and finally she skipped a level and went into honors math where she never got anything but A's and a 5 on her AP Calc exam. She never, ever struggled in HS math, it was so easy for her, when many of those who were the chosen ones in JH, struggled and dropped down.

    D loved dresses when she was young(still does) and is a girly girly. Who also thought welding was the best thing ever. Who loved doing 3-D modeling and loves to put her furniture together. Getting dirty and running one of those warrior runs was the greatest thing ever.

    I'm not sure why more women don't go into engineering. Hard to say, I do have to say that I'm not sure that engineering is the most flexible for working mothers. Lots of male bravado and bias. Companies are trying to change but it's hard.

    Oh, the project she's working on now. Trying to reduce gas house emissions. I think that's helping solve world problems.
    edited June 2014
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  • ConsolationConsolation 22898 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I've honestly felt more... eh... "persecuted" as an English major than as a STEM major... ever since I started telling people I want to major in English, I've experienced hardly anything but discouragement.

    Oh, yeah. And anti-humanities bias is even stronger on CC than in the real world.
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  • VMTVMT 1203 replies16 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    My daughter is going into her senior year of HS and her interest is math and science. She is hesitant to go into engineering because "she doesn't know what it is." This is despite having 2 parents who are engineers who have spent hours describing our work and the work of others and all the possibilities that an engineering degree provides. But, what it comes down to for her is, she doesn't like uncertainty and is risk averse, it's her personality. She knows what math is, and likes it, so figures she will be a math major. On the other hand, I know a lot of boys who graduated from our public high school, went into engineering thinking "I like math and scence, I will be an engineer", not knowing much about it, and they drop it after the first year. I think some girls really need a push or encouragement from teachers to consider engineering.

    And yes - lots of world problems solved by engineers everyday!
    edited June 2014
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  • IgloooIglooo 9232 replies226 threads Senior Member
    Can you blame them? So hard to get a job afterwards. When my D was junior in HS she thought she would major in archeology. I was eating when she told me and I gagged. I didn't mean to be so obvious but I was shocked and concerned. I did assure her that I would support her choice if she feels strongly about it. Needlessly to say, I was extremely relieved when she changed her mind.
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
    @VMT,

    FYI:
    The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) K-12 outreach program for girls:
    http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/index.php/k-12-outreach

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  • ConsolationConsolation 22898 replies184 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    Can you blame them? So hard to get a job afterwards. When my D was junior in HS she thought she would major in archeology. I was eating when she told me and I gagged. I didn't mean to be so obvious but I was shocked and concerned. I did assure her that I would support her choice if she feels strongly about it. Needlessly to say, I was extremely relieved when she changed her mind.

    Yes, I can blame them.

    I entered college with the idea of being an archaeologist. I changed my mind when I got a better idea of what that really entailed, and more closely identified my own interests, which intersected archaeology but ultimately lay in another direction. I find the idea of a parent GAGGING at the idea that a kid aspired to archaeology absolutely appalling.
    edited June 2014
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  • FlossyFlossy 3118 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Okay, I'm all for teaching girls that they to do whatever they want to do (I thought we did that, already, btw) but it's starting to sound as though some posters think it's a negative somehow if a girl likes pretty clothes and wants to be the editor of a fashion magazine. If so, I disagree strongly. Whatever means whatever and that's a pretty good gig, really.
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  • mathyonemathyone 4193 replies34 threads Senior Member
    I'm not suggesting that girls be prevented from following their interests. But more than once, I've had to veto trips into the woods that guests wanted to do because their parents sent them over in shoes they could barely walk in, or they could not do a messy activity because of what they were wearing. I've also had to drive girls home who perfectly well could have walked if they had been wearing shoes they could walk in. If a kid can't walk a mile in the woods in a pair of shoes, it's not appropriate for a play date. Save it for an appropriate dress-up occasion.
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  • FlossyFlossy 3118 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    Well, of course. My comment was not directed to you, btw. It was just a general observation.
    edited June 2014
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  • stemfamstemfam 23 replies2 threads New Member
    As a female who was good at math, I felt pushed into engineering, even in the 80's. So I tried it for a year and found that I hated it. I liked integrals and probability, not strengths of materials and mechanical drawing. As a result, I became a math major, but that one year of engineering killed my GPA and also my love for school.
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  • stemfamstemfam 23 replies2 threads New Member
    Also Verizon could make the exact same ad for boys. Show a father's reaction when his son wants to be a nurse or show a little boy who gets tinker toys for his birthday even though he had asked for My Little Pony. I get the point of the ad. We need to be careful with our words and encourage kids to pursue their own interests. But we also need to be careful not to push more girls to be engineers or push more boys to become nurse practitioners if that is not where their interests lie.
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  • DrGoogleDrGoogle 11022 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    Well there are tons of different scenarios too. My math loving daughter told me she was going to major in math in college, I knew that math in college is not like math in high school so I suggest engineering, also told her she should change her major if she does not like engineering. Guess what subject was her weakest subject and also GPA killer, it's math. Go figure.
    edited June 2014
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  • YoHoYoHoYoHoYoHo 1977 replies32 threads Senior Member
    @muchtolearn,
    I live in Southern California and hear gender biased comments all of the time. I know that it has even worn me down when I met a woman who had a math heavy career and I was surprised and taken aback. My own reaction really showed me how much I have been influenced over the past 30 years from when I was a math major.

    @stemfam,
    I agree with you. Gender bias comments to boys are quite rampant. In fact, based my on observation, it's frequency is equal to girl gender biased comments at a young age.

    I also agree that there may be some genetic codes that make women be more nurturing which might make them pick majors more along those lines (or stay at home to be full time homemakers). What would be nice is to be able to have kids, both boys and girls, explore topics that might interest them, without regard to what the general public or history categorizes it as a stereotypical male or female roles.
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  • DrGoogleDrGoogle 11022 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    I think Southern Cal is the worst place, afterall we are next to Hollywood, luckily my kids did spent some times or grew up in Northern Cal and they had been around plenty of families whose husband and wife and both engineers.
    edited June 2014
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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4610 replies168 threads Senior Member
    My experience is similar to @Mathyone.

    I see girls who are capable opting out of the top math group at a higher rate than boys do. I also see that girls often say they are not as good at math as the boys even if the girls scores are consistently better. Furthermore, I see boys saying that they are better than the girls even when they are consistently worse. I do not know how much of that is nature vs. nurture, it is probably some of each, but it is strange. On average the girls seem to underestimate their abilities and the boys seem to overestimate theirs.

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  • mathyonemathyone 4193 replies34 threads Senior Member
    "Okay, I'm all for teaching girls that they to do whatever they want to do (I thought we did that, already, btw) but it's starting to sound as though some posters think it's a negative somehow if a girl likes pretty clothes and wants to be the editor of a fashion magazine."

    I think many girls get the message that being smart and being fashionable are not compatible. My fahionista daughter wouldn't be caught dead at a math competition wearing her favorite school clothes. And if she had worn them, she would have stuck out like a sore thumb in that crowd.
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  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD 3085 replies9 threads Senior Member
    I think many girls get the message that being smart and being fashionable are not compatible. My fahionista daughter wouldn't be caught dead at a math competition wearing her favorite school clothes. And if she had worn them, she would have stuck out like a sore thumb in that crowd.

    I guess I don't even understand this. What does she normally wear and what does she wear to a math competition? And why would she care if she stuck out like a sore thumb? Would the math kids have even noticed? I'm not sure they would necessarily felt confident enough about their own fashion sense to comment on your daughter's fashion sense.
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