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STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, schools must ensure that their STEM courses and programs are free from discrimination.   In the June 22, 2007 Dear Colleague letter, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights reaffirmed that women, girls, and society as a whole benefits when opportunities in areas such as mathematics and science are increased for women and girls.  “The United States cannot remain educationally, economically, or technologically competitive without the contributions of all of its citizens, and Title IX has made it possible for more women and girls to make such contributions.” 

To view the Dear Colleague Letter, click here:  June 22, 2007 Dear Colleague Letter

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Research, through the Institute for Education Sciences, developed the following 55 page resource guide: Encouraging Girls in Math and Science (PDF) which provides recommendations, such as:

  • Create an environment that sparks curiosity in math and science
  • Teach that STEM skills are learned, not innate
  • Teach that academic abilities are expandable and improvable
  • Frame adversity as an experience common to everyone
  • Encourage a growth-mindset
  • Teach about the effects of stereotyping
  • Move away from the idea that certain people are cut out for certain types of jobs
  • Highlight the broad applications of engineering and computing
  • Include female role-models and mentors in STEM fields
  • Create welcoming environments for girls in STEM
  • Provide girls with opportunities to tinker and build confidence

NSF INCLUDES National Network published a 21 page research brief of Evidence-based Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Girls and Women in STEM.  Some of their recommendations include:

  • Emphasize communal goals and opportunities for practice
  • Foster engagement among key entities and stakeholders
  • Provide more informal STEM learning environments
  • Enhance professional development for educators
  • Confront gender-based biases and provide supportive spaces
  • Use targeted messaging and conversations to build interest and confidence
  • Encourage mentoring and role modeling from female faculty
  • Embrace work-life balance and family-friendly policies

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a 2020 consensus study report titled Promising Practices for Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Opening Doors which addresses the problem of gender inequities in U.S. STEM fields, factors that drive the underrepresentation of women in STEM, and provides a review of the current research on educational interventions that can improve recruitment and retention of girls and women in STEM fields. Research-based interventions include:

  • Incorporating active learning
  • Promoting a growth mindset
  • Communicating the societal impact of STEM to students
  • Including female role models
  • Creating inclusive relationships through mentoring
  • Having male allies

The study also includes information on how the characteristics of the STEM instructor, the class structure, and group composition may affect the recruitment and retention of girls. This study is available as a free downloadable pdf or for purchase in book form.

STEM Opportunities for Girls

  • ChickTech High School provides FREE online STEM education and mentorships led by industry professionals for girls and other gender minority students. Launching October 23, 2021, this program increases confidence, interest, and pursuit of technology education and careers through two monthly virtual events through June 2022. Every effort will be made to provide accommodations as needed: Spanish language support, disability accommodations, childcare stipends, and equipment/internet access. Nominations are accepted throughout the program year.

Please visit the ChickTech website to view more information about workshop topics and to nominate a high school student. Please contact programs@chicktech.org with questions about nominating a student for this FREE program.

  • Girls Who Code offers FREE programs for 3rd-5th grd and 6th-12 grd girls and non-binary students. Programs can be held in person or online and during or after school or during the summer. For more information or to apply to start a club, visit the Girls Who Code website.

Instructional Resources

Additional Resources