Despite best efforts, it’s common knowledge that STEM is a more male dominated industry. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math career paths are often those chosen mostly by men who have likely had these educational funnels encouraged to them by their teachers, parents and career advisers. But as we’re stepping into and creating a more diverse workplace, what can we do as a society to improve access to technology for girls in schools, but also at home? How do we start to tackle the gender gap before it’s too late?
Develop free content
If you’re an organisation or company who produces technology, why not consider creating free content to schools, colleges and academies? great tech companies even offer free academy sessions around Raspberry Pi to give the younger generations easy and free access to a wealth of online content. If you’re a school, make sure you take the opportunity to introduce this type of educational material to your students. You may just inspire the next cyber specialist or lead scientist!
Learning about STEM subjects doesn’t have to be boring. It shouldn’t mean endless lessons with content that can send you to sleep. Remember, people learn in different ways, and this should be reflected in the way you teach. Some kids prefer a more active way of learning and participating, so consider building more practical elements into your lessons. Why not encourage them to build computers or learn to code hands on instead of simply reading a textbook.
Explain the benefits and advocate STEM
Why would we do anything in life if we didn’t understand the benefits? The same can be said about STEM education. The more you talk about STEM subjects, advocate them and discuss all the future possibilities for exciting careers, the more likely you are to inspire them to try something different. With the help of mentors and teachers breaking down the barriers, this awareness could help to steer them towards an incredibly rewarding career in science, technology, engineering or maths.
Don’t wait till high school or college to start introducing them to these innovative and exciting subjects, get them involved in nursery and primary school. Kids at a young age pick up things incredibly quickly, and the earlier they start to learn, the more likely they are to become highly skilled and confident with what they’re doing. There are so many ways to bring a practical and exciting element to all of the STEM subjects – be creative and see what you can come up with.