Fast Facts: Early Barriers to Girls & Women in STEM

With relatively so few women in some math and science careers, girls have fewer role models to inspire their interest in these fields.

Girls and Math Anxiety

Male-Dominated STEM Culture

  • Because fewer women study and work in STEM, these fields tend to perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary, male-dominated cultures that are not supportive of or attractive to women and minorities.
  • Women are subjected to a greater frequency of harassment and gender-devaluing biases in some fields of study, such as engineering and computer science, on campus and professionally.
  • Girls and young women don’t see examples of female scientists and engineers in books, media and popular culture. There are even fewer role models of Black women in math and science.
  • One study found that if girls had as many role models of women inventors as boys do to male inventors, the gender gap in innovation could be cut in half.

Dream Big

Sometimes parents squash students’ interests because they are afraid of science or math. So they don’t participate. You don’t have to know the answers to engage kids; you just have to let them know it’s important.