Encouraging girls–not just women–to go into the sciences

26 Sep

When is the time to start encouraging girls to go into science, technology, engineering and math?


While women are outpacing men in graduation rates and numbers, the STEM fields continue to be male-dominated. According to the NY Times, women “earn less than 20 percent of all undergraduate degrees” in computer science and engineering (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/education/online-mentoring-program-to-encourage-women-in-sciences.html?_r=0).

So when I read the Times article about WitsOn (Women in Technology Sharing Online), a new program “connect[ing] undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees with female mentors from industry and academia who can speak from personal experience about issues of particular concern to young women” (https://piazza.com/witson), I was excited… and disappointed.

It’s great for college-age women who are already pursuing STEM degrees to have mentors to whom they can ask real questions, like “How sexist is programming?” “How did you get where you are?” “Do you have time for your family?” “When is it right to correct misunderstandings about women in technology fields and when do you have to just let it slide?”

And what about all the girls in elementary, middle and high school who don’t even consider STEM studies, regardless of their aptitude and potential? Yes, I know we’ve got to start somewhere, and I’m so grateful to the women leaders who created and donate their time and wisdom to WitsOn.

And I’d like to see WitsOn grow its outreach to younger women and girls who are beginning and in the thick of the critical decision-making and identity-forming that shape their attitudes, choices and access by the time they are–or could have been–college undergrads.

If you want to join me in thanking WitsOn and encouraging them to connect as mentors with younger potential scientists, you can do that on their “contact us” page: https://piazza.com/contactus.html.

Thanks for taking the time.

One Response to “Encouraging girls–not just women–to go into the sciences”

  1. Laura@Public Allies September 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm #


    Roominate: Beyond barbie houses… About engaging girls in engineering. Wish I’d had this (and so does my engineer of a dad whose 3 daughters all went into the arts and social/behavioral sciences… bet we would have played it together).

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