Girls in Science

26 Apr

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I often wonder why we have such a problem involving girls in more Science and Math classes. It is not my area of expertise but I have a real interest in it. My daughter loves Maths, unlike her Dad. Indeed so does her Mum. I was speaking to a past student the other day who is studying Maths/Science at university. Her classes are filled with males while the females in the class number in single digits. The scariest part of this is, that as enlightened as we like to think we are, we have been promoting change for ten years yet nothing really has.

In 2014 Ministry of Education published the strategic plan A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara that identifies three specific goals for the project over the next ten years. Those were:

  • More learners who are competent in science and technology and more who go on to a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related jobs.
  • A more scientifically and technologically engaged public and a more publicly engaged science sector.
  • A more skilled workforce and science and technology that is more responsive to New Zealanders needs.

This was followed up by a major push for girls to achieve in the STEM subjects. Let me be clear, there are many, many women who are successfully and prominently involved in Science and Math. But our girls in schools are not seeing enough positive role models in Science and Maths. My own environment have powerful role models demonstrating wahine toa and this is demonstrated by our outstanding results. Still nationwide this not the case.

I guess it still comes down to the obvious. If we are to change the system, we need first to change the culture. I guess if we worked as hard to put a woman on the moon as we did for a man, things might be different today.

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