By Mariah Loeber, originally published on FemSTEM February 22, 2018.
Every day there is more and more encouragement on the internet and other forms of media for girls to get into STEM fields and to thrive in them. From shows on PBS, to Twitter threads and Facebook groups, and lots and lots of news stories about girls thriving in STEM in order to encourage other girls to get into STEM.
This …might be a cause of some anxiety for some parents depending on some things.
What if she’s just not interested in STEM?
The fact is, we should all be interested in STEM to some degree. Not only will some interest help us get through our schooling (if I had more of an interest in Math, it would have helped me a ton), but there’s something we need to face. STEM is in our every day lives, whether we like it or not. Without STEM there would be no computers, or smart phones, or televisions. Without STEM there wouldn’t be the plants outside, or the pets within our houses! We wouldn’t even have our homes, if you think about it! Construction takes a lot of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!
If we don’t have an interest in STEM at all, we don’t have an interest in a lot of life. Without you even realizing it, some of your interests (if not most of your interests) are going to be linked in STEM. This is also true for your daughters (and sons, of course).
Another fact: Truthfully? Though we might not have a career in it, we all are scientists.
Something to consider might be: is she not interested in STEM, or has she just not been exposed to it enough?
There’s lots of ways to expose your girls to STEM that make it fun and enjoyable for them. More and more books about STEM are coming out for younger ages, and more and more programs exist to get girls into STEM.
Here are a few for your viewing pleasure*:
#GirlsWhoCode - A national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.
STEM Girls Books - A company in development with three picture books coming out around Summer of 2017.
Women in Science the Card Game - An original, fun and educational card game that includes 44 different women for your children to learn about! Plus an expansion pack!
STEMBox - A monthly subscription box that sends science experiments to your door.
Beyond Curie Posters - A slew of posters of women scientists. Perfect for a classroom, or a bedroom!
Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code - A children’s book that hasn’t been released yet, but should come out soon!
Launch Ladies - Another children’s book (for very little ones) that will be released soon about Women in Space.
But Here’s the Bottom Line:
There should be NO PRESSURE for your child to have a career in STEM. Everyone is different, everyone has different interests, and not everyone wants to be a scientist for a living. That’s okay — of course it is. There’s been a bigger push for women to come into science lately, but that’s because there’s a lot of opportunity there and everyone should know that this is an option for them if they want to go that route.
But if they don’t — that’s of course okay.
We’re going to continue to encourage girls to be interested in STEM, but there’s no pressure.