Encouraging girls to pursue STEM fields for courses and careers has been a long-identified challenge, even as early as the 1980s. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) have dedicated time and funding to this effort with the help of many professional organizations, community groups, and universities. While some progress has been made, girls continue to be significantly under-represented in the STEM fields in both education and career aspirations.
Girls have increased their SAT math scores over the years; but a significant gap persists present between the average boy’s and girl’s scores. Girls also are increasing their enrollment and pass rates for AP classes with the exception of Computer Science, but are not then choosing STEM classes or majors in college.
AAUW’s 2010 report “Why So Few?” directly addressed this continuing problem with specific strategies based on research, most of which are addressed in GEMS clubs:spreading the work about female achievement in STEM, exposing girls to successful role models, developing a growth mentality—STEM abilities can grow with work and practice, developing spatial skills, and encouraging advanced classes in high school.
American Association of University Women Research on STEM —Why So Few– one of AAUW’s many research papers on the dearth of women in nontraditional fields.
National Center on Women and Information Technology Fact Sheet –NCWIT works to increase meaningful participation in computing.
National Science Foundation Statistics on Women and Girls in STEM–check here often for the latest and most accurate data
Teacher research on the first GEMS club–GEMS Founder Laura Reasoner Jones and the first follow-up study
Infusing Computer Science into GEMS–GEMS worked with Google to support GEMS leaders to add Computer Science into the GEMS curriculum