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Lack of Girls Hurts STEM

Katie thor Straten, Staff

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Little kids grow up with an idea of what they want to be. Some want to be a firefighter, police officer, president, or teacher. As time passes, these kids grow up, and they choose what they want to do for their career. No matter how open their doors are, a lot of women don’t go into the STEM fields for college.

Many things play into the lack of participation. Carolyn Jones explains that a lot of technology is introduced to kids through video games. The way that female characters are depicted are in “demeaning ways, either as sidekicks or as hypersexualized.”

Also, as women get older and start to plan their lives in a more financial sense, they learn about the unequal pay in the field, with women earning $55,000 to a men’s $80,000.

A lack of interest mainly comes before girls apply for college.

CHS, however, helps give female students a way to discover STEM with having classes available. There are classes such as Project Lead the Way, Calculus 1-3, AP Biology and Physics, Statistics, and many more. But in some classes, there is a lack of girl participation.

“I was kind of disappointed when I walked into my Principles of Engineering class the first day, and my heart fell. I was shocked because I was the only girl in there,” junior Jamie Pan said.

Other female students agree.

“Not many girls chose to take the PLTW classes, and this is very disappointing because they are such great learning opportunities,” junior Ashleigh Jankowski said.

This year the department chair of science is Natasha Wilson. She is a biology teacher and is trying to get more girls into the field.

“I hope that my female students see my enthusiasm for the subject. This helps to develop an interest in STEM subjects,” Science chair Natasha Wilson said.

Clubs give girls a way to get experience and get a taste of what they’re interested in. STEM has many areas, and girl students are, thankfully, given a chance to be exposed to it.

“There is a club called SWE [Society of Women Engineers] that is always really fun. It’s cool to learn new things that I don’t learn in class,” junior Elizabeth Simpson expressed.

Some girls enjoy the classes provided, but others eventually lose interest.

“I knew that there were girls who were taking these classes but as it gets harder, they give up. The girls, that are in the program still, are there because they really enjoy it. I’m just here to push myself and prove that girls can do anything that boys can,” Pan expressed.

There are girls that could have the possibility of being interested in STEM but are never formally introduced.

“I don’t think that schools do a good job of advertising about fields in science or teaching. I also believe that women in the field need to do a better job of reaching out and encouraging young ladies to pursue a career in science,” Mrs. Wilson said.

“The STEM field is all about having ideas and being open to ideas, and changing the world for the better,” Pan said.

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Lack of Girls Hurts STEM