It’s no secret that when it comes to math and science education, boys tend to outperform their female classmates. Women are underrepresented in science and technology fields like engineering, computer programming, and academia/research. Studies show, however, that this gender disparity has nothing to do with innate abilities by either sex, but instead with “cultural differences and expectations” (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009).
Many organizations today are trying to address this gap and raise achievements in science across the board. The Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA teamed up with Columbia University Teachers College professor Christopher Edmin and ten New York City public schools to teach science through hip hop. Science Club for Girls provides mentorship and hands-on learning for K-12 girls in STEM education. And recently, FurtherEd TV featured the founders of Code.org, Code Montage, Hopscotch, and Girl Develop It, which all aim to get more women and other underrepresented groups involved with coding.
What all of these organizations do so well is keep in mind is that it’s not about the fact that women are the focus. Too often, when we try to appeal to women (or any specific demographic) we end up with this monstrosity.
Instead, they address the problem by providing engaging lessons, direct mentorship, and positive role models to make STEM education appeal to anybody, regardless of gender. They challenge discriminatory social norms, build students’ confidence, and give people the opportunity to try their hand at new skills that they otherwise would not have had a chance to learn.
Meredith is the Director of Customer Experience at Lawline but has taken on a number of diverse roles within the company over the years, and has handled just about everything from managing customer databases to doing post-production work on courses. Since joining the Lawline team in 2012, she has gotten her MBA online, done some world traveling, and hand-fed an ostrich. She loves singing off-key in the car, shouting out the questions on ‘Jeopardy!’ and eating dessert first.