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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.
Please visit the ChickTech website to view more information about workshop topics and to nominate a high school student. Please contact email@example.com 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.
- The Institute of Education Sciences (ICS) developed a FREE at home activity sheet for families and caregivers of children in grades 3-8, Encouraging Girls in Math and Science: Three Powerful Female Role Models.
- The Smithsonian Science Education Center provides a number of FREE STEM related instructional materials, including videos, for grades 5-8, and a FREE downloadable e-book of Stories of Women in STEM at the Smithsonian.
- The National Center for Women & Information Technology provides practical tips and FREE educational materials for K-12 educators on their K-12 Educators page.
- Million Women Mentor has additional FREE resources and whitepapers available on their STEM Connector Resource page.
- The National Women’s Law Center’s Science, Technology & Career Education page contains numerous free reports, webinars, and fact sheets.
- The National Coalition for Women & Girls in Education report, Title IX at 45, has a chapter dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is free for download.
- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has additional information and multiple free research studies available on their STEM Gap page.
- The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCES) provides statistical information on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering through their free online report.
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