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February 11 is the International day of women and girls in science, a date that was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 with the aim of raising awareness and giving visibility to women who are part of this field as well as bring girls closer to science, mathematics and technology, disciplines that occupy a good part of today's jobs and that continue to be oriented to men.
This is an ideal reason to see the avenues available to us to motivate girls towards these important fields today. How can we parents, teachers and society in general promote the scientific vocation of girls? A question that is talked about a lot. Let's see it!
I recently saw an experiment in a school that caught my attention. The teacher told her students to draw professionals from different sectors, for example, firefighter, scientist, astronaut, mathematician ... The boys and girls had to make a simple drawing in which that professional could be seen and at the same time, give each one a name. Once they finished with their drawings, the teacher collected the sheets, the result was that practically all the students drew male firefighters, mathematicians, or scientists. Why? Probably because of the stereotypes that still persist in our society.
On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science we want to talk about the importance of orienting careers related to STEM towards boys and girls, that is, that it does not remain only at the level of men as it has always been done . What are STEM careers? You will ask yourself. Well, the most important and the most demanded in the world of work:science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Disciplines all of them that occupy hundreds of areas. Shouldn't we include girls in them too?
But what does the data say about women and science?
- yes Marie Curie (who was a great pioneering scientist in the field of radioactivity) raise your head, most likely you would be proud to know that about 30% of the students of technical careers in Spain are women. Or perhaps it seems a short number for the times that run today. And it is that, however much society has advanced, the gender gap in the field of these academic disciplines remains very marked.
- yes Rosalind franklin (who was an excellent English chemist and crystallographer, responsible in addition to important contributions to the understanding of the structure of DNA) knew how only 3 out of 10 scientific researchers are women, she would be frustrated. According to surveys, very few girls are seen as older as scientists, mathematics or engineers.
- yes Ada Lovelace (British mathematician and writer who oriented much of her work to the calculating machine) saw that, according to Unesco, women constitute only 28% of existing researchers worldwide and that only 35% of students enrolled in the STEM-related careers are women, I'd be beyond angry, don't you think?
The problem is not that girls do not intend to go to university or pursue higher education, in fact, more women have a higher education degree than men, however, this data is greatly reduced when it comes to careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
So what can we do to match this data? Starting with homeschooling from when the girls are little to ending stereotypes. Remember: girls can become whatever they want to be, there are no limits in education.
1. Break any stereotypes at home or at school
Sometimes, we are the parents who, without realizing it, perpetuate some of the stereotypes that we hate so much. Watching our language is very important.
2. Talk about math and engineering
Talk to your children about the importance of math and engineering today. Children often do not know the role of these sectors.
3. Visit a science museum
Surely there is more than one science museum in your city or in the surroundings. Plan a family outing and talk to your children with enthusiasm about what you will be able to see there.
4. Introduce your children to the important scientists
She speaks at home and in school with women who have stood out for their contribution to the world of science and mathematics.
5. Math is fun
Banish the idea that maths are boring and difficult, on the contrary, if they are taught from another point of view they can be fun and fascinating. How? With the games that we propose here!
6. A science story, an excellent tool
The stories about science, technology and mathematics, which are also designed for girls, are a great tool to break down established barriers. There are many titles that you can find in libraries, but you can also tell the stories of the scientists to your children yourself.
7. Science board games
Interactive educational science games are another good option for girls to live with science from a very young age. If you see these subjects in their most playful version, your interest in them will only grow. Find a game according to his age and get ready to enjoy a most entertaining afternoon. There are from briefcases with a complete chemistry laboratory, to botanical experiments through anatomy laboratories to study the human body. It's up to you!
8. Home experiments to learn math and science
Homemade experiments to see colors that are mixed in the shape of a rainbow, how a light bulb is lit by a simple circuit or how liquid paints dance on sound waves, give ideal results and are very entertaining for young and old.
In turn, we can teach our daughters to count at home with simple facts such as counting the cutlery when we are going to put it in the dishwasher or the pairs of socks that we have in the drawer. Addition, subtraction and even multiplication and division with the objects of the house. Fun is assured.
9. Science, mathematics and technology in everyday life
An ordinary day can be a good opportunity to teach girls about numbers and technology. For example, the supermarket turns into a whole math class with measurements, weights, additions, subtractions, and percentages. Identify the units, tens and hundreds in the prices of the products, see which one has a higher or lower price or even take the opportunity to make a few simple sums of the things that we already have in our shopping cart.
Back home from school we can observe everything around us. How do clouds form? Why are the house numbers arranged like this? Anything goes when it comes to bringing numbers closer to girls.
Surely on more than one occasion your little one has asked you how the radio or television works or why the light is turned on. And it is that boys and girls are curious by nature. Suggest to your daughter that she ask as many questions as she wants and, since you won't know the answer to all of them, there is nothing like looking for a book to solve them.
Did you know that in a few years almost all jobs will require the use of technology, science and mathematics? Do not close opportunities to your daughters for the world.
You can read more articles similar to 9 keys to bring girls closer to science and promote their vocation, in the On-site Learning category.