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Why girls’ confidence is important in STEM

Women make up only 28% of the workforce in STEM even though women make up about half the total workforce. Furthermore, the large majority of women in STEM careers say that gender discrimination is a large issue for them. This issue has gone on for far too long. There must be a change, and the answer lies in confidence. It is believed that women in STEM feel slightly unwelcome in their fields because of their gender. Reversing this is the first step necessary to close the gender gap. Females should be educated the same way males are. From the very beginning of elementary school, women should feel welcomed to learn science, technology, engineering, and math. Without this, their lack of confidence will only grow over the years. It will build up and can become quite problematic. We must combat this as young girls should feel empowered to take on challenges in STEM. With this, girls can have the confidence to go into STEM. A large problem in STEM fields is that women do not get credit for their work. Far too often, their male counterpart will take credit. Many women do not do anything about this. This is attributed to a lack of confidence. Again, this step must be fixed by not miscrediting to happen in even elementary school. One thing to consider is exactly when and how this lack of confidence can occur. By identifying it, we can prevent it. Around three in four teen girls worry about failing. Between ages 8 and 14, girls’ confidence levels drop by 30%. Between their tween and teen years, girls’ confidence regarding if they are liked by others falls from 71% to 38% - a 46% drop. Between ages 12 and 13, the percentage of girls who say they’re not allowed to fail increases by 150 percent. This report also noted that young boys and girls are equally as likely to believe they will succeed in a STEM career. Conversely, teenage girls are less likely to believe they will be successful in STEM. What has been noted by Project STEMinist, and is arguably the biggest impetus needed, is educators providing girls with hands on experiences in STEM. Also, exposure to role models is also helpful. Reading the stories of successful women in STEM can encourage girls to go into STEM. To combat the fear of failure, it must be taught to girls that failing is okay. Even if someone fails, they can try again. In fact, failure is something necessary. These ideas are not explicitly taught in many schools. We believe they should be because inspiration to go into STEM starts from a young age.

BY: Nami Mahajan

Sources: https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/5-ways-close-gender-gap-women-stem-ncn a1070101#anchor-Investinstrongpeernetworks https://www.invent.org/blog/diversity/maintaining-girls-confidence-stem


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