I had a great conversation with Shyno from WGBH Boston (makers of Design Squad and Fetch) about their organization's passion for increasing the involvement of women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). This is a personal goal for me, as I love to see the perspective and creativity that women bring to the field. She asked if I could share two links with you: Dot Diva and Engineer Your Life. Both sites are devoted to breaking down stereotypes and showing women what is possible in a STEM career.
Social pressures that we are all aware of in our culture tend to make STEM something uncool (HA!) and the peer pressure drives women away from that. Not to mention the one sided portrayal of STEM as the lonely, male dominated, nerdy field of study. WGBH has researched what women want out of a career and overwhelmingly they want to make a difference and be a part of a bigger story. They want to create with their hands and ask why do we do what we do? So their sites and outreach events are intended to give a much needed makeover to STEM's image and show women everywhere the possibilities. The video below comes from the Dot Diva site and is intended to do just that. (By the way, I held a women-only premier for my students of the webisode and they loved it! They were so sad that there was no other episode, yet).
Wired Magazine did a great cover story about Limor Fried (aka Ladyada) and Make Magazine made an excellent observation about the negative role models women see everyday. We need more positive examples and opportunities for women to look up to.
This powerpoint came from the Dot Diva Resources Page
Some of WGBH's effective outreach has involved: role models, STEM + Art, using computers for storytelling, and generally being able to be creative and express their ideas. Keep in mind this is good for guys as well! The links throughout this post are great for sharing and using with your students. I did for mine and the women loved the videos and resources.
If you need ideas on getting started with programming, robotics, Arduino, Alice, and more, you can check out the BrokenAirplane programming resources page, Dot Diva, and Engineer Your Life. Discuss your successes or struggles in the comments and lets encourage women to join STEM fields, the World will be better for it!
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