My daughter has always been raised to know that she can be whatever she wants to be in this life. When she was a tiny little girl, she wanted to be a princess. Of course. Now that she’s the ripe old age of 6, she’s much more practical. When she talks about herself in the future, she mentions maybe being a dancer or a teacher or a doctor. Fortunately for her, she has parents that will support her dreams and we will wholeheartedly encourage her to follow her passion. I mean, that’s our job as parents, right?
Our other job is to make sure Ayva is aware of the opportunities that are out there for her, and make sure she understands that there is no field that is off-limits to her as a Black woman. She can do anything. That’s why, in addition to supporting her love of the arts, Terrence and I have been introducing Ayva to STEM activities. Although the world has learned to accept that women are just as intelligent and capable as men, when it comes to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics field, girls still only have a 1 in 1000 chance of continuing in the sciences once they graduate. It’s not because girls don’t get it. They just need the opportunity to discover their natural potential.
Green Works and AAUW (American Association of University Women) have teamed up to connect girls with female role models and provide opportunities to explore STEM activities and careers. Since Green Works was founded by Maria OchoMogo, a scientist who was inspired by her environmental biologist daughter, it’s a perfect match! Now, I’m not a scientist, but I do enjoy solving a good problem. Here are a few ideas from a mom of a 6-year-old to introduce your daughter to STEM:
1. You don’t have to choose between STEM and other things you love.
Often girls are made to feel that they have to choose between STEM and other subjects like English or PE. That’s just not true. Human beings are multi-dimensional. You can love fashion AND math, cooking AND coding, dancing AND doing experiments. You can be exactly who you are and participate in STEM.
2. STEM isn’t just about being in a lab.
There are so many different ways to work in STEM! You can be a scientist who works at Facebook, or an engineer at a television network. Make sure your daughter understands that there is more than one way to STEM. The possibilities are limitless.
3. There are a lot of female role models in STEM.
While it may seem that the STEM fields are saturated with men, don’t be fooled. There are many women who are blazing innovating paths in STEM. Do some research with your girl. Introduce her to women who work in the field and let her be inspired firsthand.
Get more creative ideas on engaging girls in STEM from Green Works on their site!