Recent studies have found that parents and caregivers (aunts, uncles, and grandparents) are an untapped resource for encouraging children to pursue STEM studies and for countering the prevailing message that STEM is only for boys. Even simple activities and encouragement from family members can drive a girl’s interest in STEM.
In addition to strong women role models in STEM (i.e. #Movethedial) to steer girls towards careers in STEM, men in STEM - many who are dads - represent 80% of current jobs. It's a bit of numbers game … if we get more dads involved to play a bigger nurturing educational role, which has typically been mom's domain, we can tackle another stereotypes that's holding society back.
D4DSTEM founders, Darryl Silva and Baanu Ratneswaran, have young curious daughters who love math and nature, critical building blocks and interests to pursue careers in STEM.
For Darryl, he started noticing that he could be doing more to encourage curiosity and confidence in STEM with his 5-year-old daughter Adrianna and his 3-year-old son Marcus because he started to experience external factors (toys, media) to dissuade interest and monopolize mind share. Darryl and his wife Cara-Lynne made it their personal mission to overcome stereotypes - on their time - and be more involved, thoughtful and deliberate with activities - both FREE and paid - to encourage curiosity and confidence in STEM. It struck them quickly that where they have access to resources and an understanding of the importance of STEM, that many Canadian parents and caregivers do not. With the desire to want to ensure that all Canadian kids – particularly girls, people with disabilities, Indigenous youth and newcomers –are given equal opportunity to build our future, Dads for Daughters in STEM was born. Check out the origin blog for the whole story.
For Baanu, she has experienced first hand the unique challenges and opportunities that women face while pursuing careers in STEM. As an accomplished executive and devoted mother, with degrees in Engineering and Business, Baanu and her husband are committed and passionate about building STEM curiosity and confidence with their daughter and in doing so helping all girls. Baanu’s parents always encouraged an interest in science and technology, including the importance of math, in her adolescence and she believes that this made all of the difference.