THE IMPORTANCE OF STEM
It is critically important for parents and caregivers to play a lead role to build confidence, curiosity and fluency in STEM with kids in early years, particularly girls. Dad’s for Daughters in STEM (D4DSTEM) goal is to help all kids however, as women maintain less than 20% of STEM jobs, the focus will be on building curiosity, confidence, and fluency with girls. Curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and math starts as early as 3 years old and with each year that passes it becomes exponentially more difficult to build confidence and interest with STEM in girls.
1. Our world is changing fast.
We do not know what the jobs of the future will be, but what we do know is that foundational skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math will help prepare youth for any career path they choose to pursue.
2. There is a gap.
Only 20 per cent of Canada's post-secondary STEM-field students are female. While jobs in STEM-related domains are growing three times faster than other parts of the economy and paying 12 per cent higher, these jobs employ less than 25 per cent women. According to TD Economics, Women in the STEM field can earn up to 30% more than other fields.
3. It starts early.
Building confidence, including perseverance (it is OK to make mistakes to learn), and encouraging curiosity is key! The challenge to foster female interest in STEM begins in childhood. A walk down the pink and blue toy aisles of most retailers already shows the girl-boy disparity: Girls’ toys revolve around fashion and crafts, boys’ toys around mechanics and building. It gets progressively harder to develop an interest in STEM throughout the education system. In fact, by the time girls are in second grade, they have already begun to believe math is for boys. In addition, with more STEM focus happening in schools, parents and caregivers can play a critical role in guiding daughters and changing the STEM status quo.