Encouraging girls, intro
akf1002 at hermes.cam.ac.uk
Tue Jun 14 14:55:42 EST 1994
In article <DEAL.162.000BECB2 at cce.ubc.ca> DEAL at cce.ubc.ca (Heather Deal) writes:
>I'm writing here today because I want to develop some cohesive programming
>around "girls in science" and am looking for models. I've got some ideas and
>have spoken with folks about a few models, but would love to hear more before
>designing my program. I have carte blanche regarding format. It can be
>everything from intense workshops for "gifted" kids (I dislike the term) to
>informal evenings with girls, parents and scientists - or a combination of
>Any suggestions, opinions, thoughts will be greatly appreciated!
I thought you might be interested to hear about the events I had the
opportunity to partake in while I was at school, supposedly to encourage me
into science and technology - BTW, I am at present just finishing my first
year of a degree course in biochemistry and genetics.
My school was very concerned about the lack of girls in science, and did a lot
to encourage us, by running science clubs, organizing talks by women who have
achieved something in science, and the like. We were also taught the three
sciences separately (which is more than can be said for an increasing number
of schools in England, due to the Government's new National Curriculum). This
allowed us a greater introducton to the subjects, and meant that if, for
example, we disliked one part of science, we did not necessarily dislike the
We also received visits from a travelling exhibition called the WISE Bus
(Women Into Science and Engineering), which is organised by some national body
- sorry, not sure who - and will visit any interested groups. The snag with
the WISE Bus was that those of us who were already interested in science went
around it thinking "what a waste of time, we're already convinced", while
those of us who had no interest whatsoever, left feeling no different. I will
admit however, that for the few girls in my year who had yet to formulate any
preference for or against science, it gave them a fresh view of the subject,
and a few were in fact persuaded to continue with science for a bit further in
their scholastic careers. All that the bus really was was a display to show
that science is NOT just a male area. It succeeded in doing this.
Beyond this, we were really left to our own devices to choose science or not.
Maybe 40% did. But that was at an all girls school. In this country at
least, more girls from single sex schools will do science than girls from
mixed schools. I believe that this is another example of the need to convince
girls that they can do science as well as boys. But given the ingrained
stereotype against this, they may take some convincing!
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