STEM, the popular shortened version of the study of Science, Technology and Engineering and Maths. STEM is all around us in our everyday experiences and will shape the future. From Drug development to creating a 3D image, from saving a protected species to landing on Mars. The practical applications of STEM subjects are diverse and far-reaching. Oxbridge is passionate about STEM subjects and even more so about delivering them to our students in the best possible way.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology has issued a plea for parents to try and avoid buying so many gender-stereotyped toys for girls. Many parents will agree that this is not as easy it sounds.
The institute claims that purchasing such traditional toys may be putting girls off exploring science, technology, engineering and maths. Therefore, it certainly is worth trying; especially if you want a competitive future economy.
The way that retailers market their toys makes avoiding gender-stereotyped toys more challenging. Research conducted by the institute found that 89% of toys offered by top retailers to girls were pink. It also found that out of all toys aimed at girls, only 11% related to science, technology or engineering, compared to 31% of toys aimed at boys. This disparity shows a continued issue of gender stereotyping in this industry.
How can you help to encourage more girls to become interested in STEM?
To get girls to become interested in STEM … you could:
It is important to try and spark an interest in STEM as early as possible. One way of doing so is to address some of the negative perceptions that girls may have of these subjects early on. This could include the belief that these subject areas are only for boys. This way, girls will feel more confident. able to explore any interest they have in these subjects in an open-minded way.
The idea of using role models to encourage participation is a well-known technique, but this is even more important about STEM and girls because there is such a clear inequality. Encourage your child to look up to her favourite maths teacher in school or do a research project on a public figure, such as the famous physicist and chemist Marie Curie.
Join a club
Children often learn best when they can share their interest with others. Therefore, joining a STEM-related club can be a good idea. This way, girls can put their interest into action. And see other girls taking part, which then helps to reiterate that STEM applies to them.
Make it fun
Making something enjoyable is probably one of the most important ways to facilitate a lifelong interest and involvement in STEM, and this is true for people of all ages. Children need to feel that what they are learning holds their interest and is fun and accessible.
If you have a young person at home who shows an interest in the STEM subjects, or if you are personally interested, Oxbridge does offer distance GCSEs and A-levels in physics, biology, chemistry and maths.