Girls and Science: Generations of Avoidance

For generations, women have been categorized into roles that involve more domestic or creative talents. Science, engineering and math careers have been dominated by men for decades. Changes to these norms are beginning to take place in the scientific world. Educational opportunities and young ages are making the most difference. Some factors, however, still limit the interaction of females in these types of studies.


Involvement at a young age is essential in changing the way girls view science. Labs and other classroom activities must be all inclusive. Electives and science classes must be available to everyone. Males students are often the first in line for science and engineering. It is important that school schedules allow room for everyone to have a turn at these electives. Mandatory science classes can help by introducing famous female scientists along with popular male historical figures.  All students should be exposed to a variety of subjects and role models in elementary and junior high.


Girls tend to have more responsibilities outside of the classroom. Females, even at young ages, are often expected to contribute more to household duties. Cultural norms indicate that women are more likely to be found cooking and cleaning. Parents must take initiative to keep their children involved in school work and extracurricular activities. Many times, parents are unaware of the roles they impose on their children. Young boys may be allowed to go outside and explore while a daughter is expected to help with dinner.  Boys in these situations have an upper hand on learning about their environment by exploration. This curiosity is often what fuels an interest in science. It is crucial to find a balance between responsibilities and learning.


Opportunities are often limited for all students, especially in low-income areas. After school programs are sometimes too costly for widespread participation. Clubs often fill up with male students, leaving little room left for the interested girls. More opportunities can be made by forming more than one group or making an all-girl group. Many schools offer specific educational routes that focus on science, technology, and math. Recruiters need to take an interest in all gender groups when scouting for potential students. Parents, teachers, and mentors should also find ways to seek out talent and encourage female students. This can include seeking out learning opportunities, assisting in enrollment, and providing transportation. Opportunities are often overlooked due to obstacles. All parties should take an in finding educational opportunities for young, female students.

Role Models

Children grow up watching educational television shows with males as the main educator. Oftentimes, science classes have a male teacher, as well. Thankfully, these scenarios are changing in many areas. It is still important, however, that role models offer encouragement to all students. Girls are more likely to continue with a scientific interest if the teacher shows an interest in them. Educators should take the time to review assignments with the student, answer questions, and offer encouragement. All of these actions show a child that their interest is valid.

Introduction of female role models can also help to change the way young girls look at the scientific field. Some girls may avoid the sciences due to lack of other females to correspond with. Study groups with a female teacher and other female students may help to bridge the gap.

Career Norms

Girls are likely to notice an unproportionate number of males in the science industry. This can be especially daunting once these girls become young women and start looking for work. Preparation at a young age can help them to keep a healthy mindset. Seek out women in these careers and introduce young students throughout the years. Schools can bring in female guest speakers, arrange field trips, and organize girls’ science clubs. Equal emphasis on successful males and females in the scientific field can help to change the outlook of young students, as well. The idea is to change what has been the career norm in the past and teach girls persevere what they love.

Start Early

Science one of several fields of study that is often male dominated. This perception has persisted for several generations and is now undergoing a change. The goal is to provide equal opportunities and encourage interest at a young age. Girls in elementary school are more likely to go after an interest regardless of obstacles. Once children hit junior high they are much more aware of what other people think. This is when they start incorporating the opinions of others into their personal choices. Take every opportunity to support a child’s interests as early as possible. Girls need to be empowered at a young age to pursue their interests.

Science and math have often been avoided by women in the past. Many factors have contributed to this lack of interest. Social norms, lack of role models, and minimal opportunities contribute to the issue. Educators, parents, and media can all help to make a change. Children should be aware of the many career options available to them at an early age. Early involvement, increased opportunities, and ongoing education can set young girls up for success in the sciences.

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