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Girls in STEM: By encouraging and enabling young girls to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, we may close the gender gap in STEM disciplines. Learn about mentoring programs, educational resources, and engaging activities that can help them reach their full potential.

Girls in stem

5 Barriers Girls Face in STEM

Stereotypes and societal bias:

In the world of STEM, the glaring gender gap often stems from stereotypes and societal bias that unfairly undermine “girls in STEM’s” potential. These misconceptions insidiously suggest that girls are inherently less capable than boys in fields involving math and science, ultimately deterring them from pursuing these paths.

This bias frequently finds its roots in well-intentioned yet misguided influences, such as parents who unknowingly steer their daughters away from STEM subjects in favor of others. Similarly, teachers’ subtle remarks about certain topics being better suited for boys inadvertently reinforce these damaging beliefs. The media’s portrayal of predominantly male figures as the faces of STEM contributes to the entrenchment of these biases.

The result is a discouraging landscape where “girls in STEM” question their aptitude and worth in STEM fields. To rectify this, it’s imperative that we actively confront and dispel these stereotypes. Early exposure to diverse role models in STEM, providing equal learning opportunities, and dispelling myths about gender and intelligence are steps in the right direction.

Lack of role models:

Girls lack female role models in STEM careers. Women underrepresentation makes it difficult for girls to see themselves in these careers. Girls may not know female scientists or engineers, hindering their vision for themselves in these roles. Lack of representation also limits girls’ access to mentorship and support from successful women in STEM.

According to Emerson’s 2019 STEM study, two out of every three American women claimed they were not encouraged to pursue a STEM job, and this includes those who are highly qualified. (From and the Association of Women Engineers, August 2019.)

Inadequate resources:

Schools and educational initiatives may lack the funding necessary to encourage girls in STEM disciplines. This may entail having access to the most recent tools and technology as well as being exposed to the many STEM disciplines and jobs.

For instance, a school might not have the resources to buy the most recent scientific equipment, which might make it challenging for girls to participate in experiential learning opportunities. Similarly to this, a school could not have any female STEM instructors to offer leadership and mentoring. Young females may find it more challenging as a result to excel in STEM fields and choose STEM jobs. fields in STEM.

According to a Code. org-sponsored 2020 research, fewer than half of American schools provide computer science education. That begs the question of whether children will be prepared to tackle the changing and expanding environment of STEM occupations.

Work-life balance:

Perceptions that STEM careers don’t align with family and life goals discourage some girls from pursuing them. Stereotypes of STEM careers demanding long hours and intense dedication add to this imbalance of work and home responsibilities for women. This stereotype may discourage girls from pursuing STEM fields, as they may believe that they will not be able to achieve a balance between their career and their personal goals.

Bias and discrimination:

It may be harder for girls to excel and grow in their professions in STEM fields where they may experience bias and discrimination. A female engineer, for instance, can encounter resistance from male coworkers who don’t take her seriously when she suggests fresh approaches or fixes. Because of this, it can be more challenging for her to be successful and advance in her work.

Similarly to this, despite having comparable credentials and abilities, a woman scientist may not be afforded the same chances or recognition as her male counterparts. These prejudices can occasionally be overt and deliberate, but they are frequently the result of unconscious bias.

7 Strategies for Encouraging Girls in STEM

girls in stem
My daughter programming her Arduino to work as a solar cell phone charger.

Revolutionary advancements in technology have transformed the STEM sector in recent decades. However, despite the influx of new talent, girls remain excluded from this industry. The STEM sector continues to neglect girls, despite heightened awareness and advocacy for gender equality. Despite progress, we must work harder to engage and involve more girls in STEM disciplines. To close the gender gap once and for all, here are some strategies that can help encourage girls to pursue STEM-related fields.

Provide access to STEM education and resources:

Fostering enthusiasm for STEM careers among the younger generation requires the provision of accessible STEM education and resources. This is particularly crucial when it comes to ensuring that “girls in STEM” have equitable access. To achieve this, it’s imperative to offer girls the same opportunities as their male counterparts, including exposure to cutting-edge tools, technologies, and a diverse array of STEM professions.

Institutions play a pivotal role in this process. Schools, for instance, can play their part by granting access to state-of-the-art facilities, such as computer laboratories equipped with 3D printers, microcontrollers, and programming tools. By extending these resources to “girls in STEM,” we create an environment where they can explore, experiment, and innovate without constraints.

Moreover, it’s essential to broaden the horizons of “girls in STEM” by introducing them to a multitude of STEM-related careers. Organizing field trips to nearby businesses and research establishments can expose them to real-world applications of STEM and highlight the myriad opportunities available. These excursions not only showcase the practical aspects of STEM but also serve as inspiration, fueling their aspirations to venture into these fields.

Encourage girls to participate in STEM-related extracurricular activities:

Promoting females’ involvement in STEM-related extracurricular activities can boost interest in the field and offer more practical learning opportunities. Science fairs, robotics clubs, and mentoring programs are a few examples of extracurricular STEM activities. Students can study programming, engineering, and problem-solving in a practical setting through robotics clubs, for instance, and are frequently exposed to competition and collaboration as well. Science fairs can support girls’ scientific interests and curiosity by allowing them to present their work to a larger audience.

Organizations like the National Girls Collaborative Project work to ensure that all girls have access to materials that promote STEM education and enthusiasm. This is accomplished through expanding the amount and quality of materials, as well as by creating and utilizing a network of instructors.

Or the Women in Engineering Proactive Network, which connects people, research, and practice to promote women’s and other underrepresented groups’ involvement, retention, and performance in engineering from college through executive leadership.

Provide female role models and mentorship:

Girls should be inspired to seek jobs in STEM disciplines through female role models and mentors. In addition to organizing seminars and events where girls may interact with female STEM role models, this can involve linking girls with female STEM professionals.

Schools may, for instance, organize career days with female STEM workers or invite female scientists, engineers, or mathematicians to speak at assemblies or in courses. Also, schools or other groups may establish mentoring programs that pair young women with female STEM experts who can offer direction, counsel, and support.

A study by Sullivan and Bers found that female teachers have a stronger positive influence on females’ performance in robotics and coding activities than male teachers.

Address and challenge stereotypes and societal bias:

Addressing and challenging stereotypes and societal bias is crucial in encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. This can be done through educational programs that aim to combat gender stereotypes and bias in STEM fields, as well as create a culture in STEM fields that values diversity and inclusivity.

One example of this is using classroom instruction to challenge stereotypes and stereotypes and promote critical thinking skills. Another example is to encourage girls to participate in activities and events that are gender-inclusive, this can help to create a culture of inclusion and help girls to feel more comfortable and welcome in STEM fields.

Support work-life balance:

Encourage organizations and employers to adopt policies and practices that support work-life balance, such as flexible work arrangements, parental leave, and mentorship programs that help women balance their careers with their personal and family responsibilities. For example, employers can offer flexible schedules, remote working options, and other alternatives that enable employees to balance their work and personal lives. Additionally, employers can set up mentorship programs to help women balance their careers with their personal and family responsibilities.

Address bias and discrimination:

Promoting females’ interest in STEM professions requires addressing prejudice and discrimination. This might involve putting in place rules and practices that address and combat prejudice and discrimination in STEM workplaces as well as encouraging inclusiveness and diversity there.

For instance, this may entail delivering training on unconscious bias and putting in place diversity and inclusion policies that support fair treatment and equitable opportunity for all workers. In order to find instances of bias and discrimination and take action to remedy them, organizations can also monitor and publish diversity statistics.

Partnering with industry, academia and non-profit organizations:

Promoting the involvement of girls in STEM professions may be accomplished through collaboration with businesses, academia, and nonprofit groups. A successful approach to promoting females in STEM professions is to collaborate with businesses, academia, and nonprofit groups. This can include programs that encourage girls and women’s engagement in STEM professions, such as those that offer STEM education, mentorship, and professional development opportunities.

For instance, industry partners may add a practical perspective to curriculum creation, give students experiential learning chances, and organize internships that can result in job prospects. Moreover, collaborations between schools and universities can give students access to tools and possibilities that would not be accessible at the school level, such as specialized training and research opportunities.

A study of a STEM school-university partnership including 48 high schools and two universities discovered that, while there were some problems, students benefited from increased opportunities to engage in authentic STEM activities. “STEM partnerships between high schools and universities can offer students opportunities to engage in real-world, hands-on STEM experiences that are not always available in traditional classroom settings” (p. 8)


To ensure a diverse and skilled workforce in these disciplines, encouraging girls to seek professions in STEM subjects is essential. Teachers can use a range of tactics to support girls’ interest in STEM fields, such as ensuring that they have access to STEM education and resources, encouraging teenagers to take part in STEM-related extracurricular activities, providing female role models and mentoring, addressing and challenging stereotypes and societal bias, promoting work-life balance, addressing bias and discrimination, and working in collaboration with business, academia, and non-profit organizations.

All of these tactics can work to break down the different obstacles that young people have while pursuing professions in STEM and can assist to build a more inviting and inclusive atmosphere for girls. It’s crucial to keep in mind that this is a continuous endeavor that calls for the involvement and dedication of educators, families, businesses, and governments. We can work together to build a future in which girls have equal opportunities to flourish in STEM disciplines.

Richard Campbell

Richard Campbell is an experienced English professor in South Korea with over 20 years of teaching experience across all levels of education. With a doctorate in education, Richard is passionate about promoting language learning and using innovative approaches, including AI writing tools, to inspire his students.