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STEM for Girls

Thursday, May 21, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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Amazon recently changed the way they organize their toy section. You can no longer filter toys by gender. But they still have separate landing pages for boys' and girls' toys, with some of the same sub-categories: for boys, "Pretend Play" features the outfit of a fire fighter; for girls, princess outfits. Ouch.

Gender stereotypes like these run deep. Whether your attention is turned to toys or STEM education (and STEM jobs), it's going to take more than removing a label to knock those stereotypes down.

One way to address this opens some programs only to people in an underserved demographic. "Girl Develop It" teaches technology and web development classes to women. Their HTML/CSS and coding classes aren't specialized for this audience. But they do create an environment where women can be part of the STEM community in whatever way they choose.

There's a difference between "There's room for you at this table" and "We've reserved this table just for you." With so much STEM programming available (and Melanie just blogged about a long list of ready-to-go programs), try giving a program a second time for a more specific audience. Let's take extra steps to support diversity so no one's left saying, “It’s almost as if I could only enter the makerspace as a janitor.”

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

Your STEM second in command

Ready to put on a STEM program at your library and want a second set of hands? Invite Nathan out to help. Whether you're planning a program that uses SWON's Tech to Lend equipment or something entirely different, Nathan is glad to join your team. Contact him at nathan@swonlibraries.org with requests.


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