The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and The North Texas University collaborated to create a Girl STEM summer camp, designed to show middle school girls what the STEM field can offer them, according to NBC Dallas.
But first of all what is STEM? It stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics. The camp has various activities that show problem-solving skills and introduce the girls to technology tools. The conferences are led by only women that work in the field, among them, Janeta Boom, who works in Houston’s Nasa.
Janeta Boom started her conference by showing the girls a picture of her surrounded by men at the Nasa. “Why not you? Really!” she questioned the girls. She stated that technology is often seen as a man’s field.
The director of the STEM camp and Unit Assistant Professor Aleshia Hayes said these kinds of spaces are necessary to bridge the gender gap. “This is the age when they start ideating on what they may become and I hope that they see STEM is possible for everyone”, she said to NBC Dallas.
According to Hayes, only 28% of the workforce on Stem are women although 48% of the workforce in the country are women. Another fact that sheds light on this problem is that only 32% of STEM degrees are awarded to women, according to Knowledge without borders.
Part of why girls don’t choose STEM as a career is related to gender role issues. According to the study made by Science “Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests”, gender stereotypes that indicate girls are bad in math are introduced in second grade. By the time the girls enter high school, girls stop choosing math-related courses.
Norah Benton-Nielson, a 10-year-old girl from Strickland Middle School in Denton said to NBC Dallas “I just wanted to work with other girls that have kind of the same ideas as me.”