Women and girls are historically underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields and much has been written lately about why girls in school seem disinterested in these areas. As STEM becomes more important in our increasingly interconnected global society, it becomes even more imperative that educators find ways to encourage girls to participate in these fields.
A few weeks ago, researchers at the Universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan released the results of a study that reflected many girls’ antipathy toward all things STEM. The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, tracked about 1500 college-bound students over a decade and found that more women had the highest scores on both the math and the verbal portion of the SAT test than their male counterparts. These women were more likely to pursue non-STEM careers after graduation even though they excelled in those fields in school. As the principal researcher of the study, Ming-Te Wang, summarizes, “This highlights the need for educators and policy makers to shift the focus away from trying to strengthen girls’ STEM-related abilities and instead tap the potential of these girls who are highly skilled in both the math and verbal domains to go into STEM fields.” We couldn’t agree more.
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