Engaging Girls in STEM: Strategies for Encouraging Interest and Participation

Publish on June 29, 2023
STEM Education
Engaging girls in STEM - EFK

Breaking Barriers, Inspiring Brilliance, Empowering Girls

In recent years, women have made significant strides in breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes, as they continue to forge their path into STEM fields, demonstrating exceptional talent, intellect, and innovation. Because of the gains made by introducing more women to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, they now represent about 25% of workers in these areas. However, there is still more to do!

The STEM fields are of vital importance to the world. STEM fields are at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement and they drive progress in various sectors, including healthcare, communications, energy, transportation, and more. If anything, this is why we should engage girls in STEM and help them see they have a place in these fields.

Engineering For Kids wants to help by introducing some strategies that help encourage more girls to build STEM strengths.

Highlight Female Role Models

There are many women who have made great advancements in STEM fields, and we need to share their stories and successes with young girls. Having female role models can help today’s young women see themselves in STEM jobs and dream of what they can achieve. Here are just a few women who advanced in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and maths.

Katherine Johnson - EFK

Katherine Johnson

A young African-American woman, Katherine excelled in the fields of physics, maths, and space science. She, along with two other women (Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson), used math calculations to guide the 1962 Friendship 7 Mission for NASA.

Radia Perlman

Radia’s work as a computer scientist paved the way for the creation of the internet. She is credited with developing the algorithm for the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). She also wrote a book on networking and network security.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind is credited with discovering there were two forms of DNA. She put forward the idea of a helical structure of DNA, which was confirmed in 1953.

Rebecca Cole

Working to reform healthcare for women in poverty, Rebecca earned her medical degree in 1867. She opened the Women’s Directory Center that helped women with little money get access to medical care and legal advice.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin - EFK

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

Demonstrating a love of the night sky as a child, Cecilia went on to fight for a university education in physics and astronomy. During her life, she was able to figure out what stars were made of, but the credit for her discovery was not given to her for many years.

Grace Hopper

Computer scientist Grace Hopper is acknowledged for inventing the first programming language that used English words. She was also known for her work with the U.S. Navy and inventing an operational compiler.

Florence Nightingale

While she is known for her advancements in healthcare, Florence was also a statistician who was able to present data in graphical form so more people could understand it.

Making STEM Fun - EFK

Make STEM Fun

STEM subjects have a reputation for being dull and boring, and it’s time kids – and girls in particular – see how much fun it can be to experiment and discover the world around us. We want to teach them how to solve problems with machines and technology. Girls in STEM need to be encouraged to be creative and innovative. To let their imagination soar as they learn how much fun they can have creating STEM projects.

It’s essential to find activities where girls feel free to explore, experiment, develop, and create. These can be spaces where they engage in teamwork to define a problem and develop solutions using STEM tactics. Hands-on learning is a fun way of engaging girls in STEM topics by showing them these areas do not always require a textbook or a classroom.

When everything is said and done, we want girls to see that STEM work can be enjoyable, so they start to flock to careers in these areas!

Provide Support and Encouragement for Girls in STEM - EFK

Provide Support and Encouragement

One of our favorite ways to get girls interested in the STEM fields is to simply encourage them! It’s important to point young girls toward opportunities to engage with STEM; for instance, find after school activities, summer camps, and even virtual classes where kids can learn more and get involved in STEM projects.

It’s also important to inspire these girls to really make an effort. Girls may be reluctant to get involved in projects or activities because of a fear of failure, but it’s these learning moments that teach us what NOT to do that help us the most. Many scientists and other professionals have been able to learn from mistakes and create better products and solutions as a result.

Additionally, helping girls identify opportunities in STEM experience, whether it is through clubs and activities or internships and job placements can be the support they need to get started. Girls who show an interest in these areas may need some extra encouragement and guidance so they can find their place in STEM fields. Some girls can also benefit from working with a science tutor to help them better understand tough topics.

Empowering Young Minds - EFK

Empowering Young Minds with Engineering For Kids

At Engineering For Kids, we love to help girls engage with STEM activities and develop a love of learning. We offer in-home and online tutoring to help young students overcome challenges and see what they are truly capable of accomplishing.

Find Your Locations

Find Your Local Engineering For Kids