While girls show a lot of interest in science during elementary school, the interest often fades in the later grades. Around 2/3 of girls in the U.S. at the fourth grade level express an interest in science and/or math subjects.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that about 24% of the jobs in STEM (science, technology and math) fields are currently occupied by women. The gender imbalance is particularly notable in the physical sciences and in engineering fields, while women are better represented in the life sciences.
In computer science there is a very large imbalance, and yet this is a field where many jobs go begging today – there are hundreds of thousands of software development jobs in the U.S. in this field which are unfilled at present.
Verizon has developed a wonderful “Inspire Her Mind” commercial –
The message of the commercial is – don’t discourage girls from “getting their hands dirty” with science or engineering projects. Rather, encourage their curiosity and their interest in these fields.
Curriki contains a wealth of resources in STEM subjects, even full courses in math including algebra and geometry. And of course developing math strengths is key to pursuing majors and careers in science and technology fields.
Here’s information on one project to address the gender gap in software development – it is a global effort to teach 1 million girls to write computer code and develop applications.
As CNET reports: “A new initiative aims to teach women how to create apps and launch their own startups, with the aim to reach one million people by 2025″. There has been progress in certain areas. For example, the number of women involved in the gaming industry, one of the largest for new software development opportunities, has increased from 11% to 22% in recent years.
Here’s an article about Women Who Code UK founder and software engineer Sheree Atcheson, who is just 23 years old.
Curriki also has resources to help girls, and boys, learn to code, including the Oracle Academy courses for Java, one of today’s most important programming languages.
Curriki’s purpose is to broaden educational opportunity in K-12 for students in all countries, including supporting greater participation by girls in the various STEM fields. These fields are so critical to future job opportunities for students and to the progress of humanity around the world, whether through the life sciences, physical sciences, or engineering.