The Ongoing Plight of Girls in STEM

October 19, 2017

As the nation reckons with the retrograde or often demeaning messages so many women encounter throughout their lives, it seems a good time to remember how these messages exacerbate gender imbalances in STEM.

A pair of sticker books published together in 2011 and still in wide circulation offer a startling illustration of the problem:

In page after page, the books imply that boys can aim for the stars (quite literally) while girls should have decidedly more domestic ambitions. (See hereherehere, here, or here, for more examples.) For all the strides we have made in the last decade, our culture is still awash in this sort of thing.

It's hard to be surprised, therefore, that girls still tune out of STEM before high school. Here's some recent, and depressing, evidence from the most recent Nation's Report Card in science:

Conversations about the messages we unwittingly send girls can be uncomfortable, but silence is certainly worse.

Tags: women & girls