Encouraging Girls In STEM Subjects

Encouraging Girls In STEM Subjects

With the ever-growing advancements in technology, and new scientific discoveries hitting the headlines on a regular basis, STEM subjects are exciting, engaging and encourage future thinking.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and these topics have historically been seen as more male-orientated.

But the tides are turning, and at Clayesmore we inspire our pupils to explore whichever path they wish to take.

Are Girls as Interested in STEM Subjects?

Microsoft conducted research into girls’ engagement with STEM subjects and found that positive views on STEM subjects changed as the girls got older. The peak of their interest in STEM is around the age of 11-and-a-half, but by around the age of 15, that interest has dropped significantly.

This could be due to the way in which society treats these subjects, considering them as “for boys” and by branding toys such as robots and chemistry sets as more masculine. However, some progress is being made on this front, with robot toys and toys that teach children how to code being made less-gender specific.

Why STEM is Important

STEM is incredibly important to this generation and future generations – particularly with the rise of technological and digital roles. For girls, it offers the opportunity to be part of a shift in the balance. By making these emerging technological professions more inclusive and representative of women, new innovations and solutions can be found.

As an example, advancements in medicine require women’s input, to ensure that the development of new drugs considers the biological makeup of women, and how that differs from men. This generation of girls currently in education could lead the way for female voices being heard in the medical sector.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes can also teach valuable life skills. Deep within these subjects is the answer to the question – how do things work? Pupils have the opportunity to think creatively to solve problems and make discoveries. Children are natural born scientists, and nurturing their creative side isn’t limited to encouraging arts – creativity flourishes in STEM too.

Even if a pupil decides ultimately not to pursue a career in science or engineering, she has a solid foundation of knowledge – and the necessary scientific approach to make informed decisions in her future.

Encouraging Girls into STEM

“We are fortunate that at Clayesmore we have a number of strong, positive female role models in our Science, Maths and Technology departments, all of whom are active in raising awareness of STEM with our students. Activities such as our Animedics Club, for potential vets and medics, opportunities to present topics of interest at local Chemistry symposia and the chance to work with junior pupils at local primary schools as STEM ambassadors allow girls and boys to work in equal partnership to share their interest and excitement about science.”SarahJane Newland, Assistant Head, Sixth Form, and a teacher of Biology.

There are simple ways to encourage girls to think about whether STEM subjects may be right for them. At Clayesmore, we invite our pupils to ask questions and to pursue their curiosity. This is a crucial skill to have in STEM, with scientists and engineers using that same curiosity to solve problems of all sizes.

We also provide our pupils with hands-on experience in the classroom, strengthening engagement and understanding of complex subjects. We believe that all pupils learn better in practical environments.

In addition, we hold STEM events for all of our pupils to get involved in, spending time away from the usual timetable to take part in fun, educational workshops that develop team-working skills.

Allowing STEM to help pupils grow

We are Clayesmore, a leading private school in Dorset – and we are determined to actively encourage all pupils to explore the benefits of a future career in STEM.