Qiannan Chen | Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design | Mathematics Science and Technology

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Not a “Girl Thing?” A Study of Young Girls’ Perspectives in STEM

Qiannan Chen, M.A. in Communication and Education

Over the past 50 years, the female work force has made huge contributions around the world. However, female participation is still low at all levels of the following subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Increasing the female labor force in STEM fields and converting the portrayal of females in society, are both a long process and will require consideration of female participation and understanding of STEM fields from a younger age. It is important, but at same time challenging, for parents and educators to work to eliminate the gender gap between male and female students starting from this younger age. This integrative project presents an overview of the existing research relating to gender issues and STEM, paying special attention to younger girls. Through surveys of 103 female students, ages 9-13, attending New York City public schools and 4 interviews with classroom teachers, this paper examines what girls themselves say about their interests and perceptions about STEM related subjects and offers suggestions on ways to reduce the gender gaps for young girls in STEM subject. It also suggests ways to engage girls to work in STEM related field in the future.

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