STEM – Barriers for Girls
BY CORAL CAMPBELL, LINDA HOBBS, VICTORIA MILLAR, ADAM RAGAB MASRI, CHRIS SPELDEWINDE, RUSSELL TYTLER AND JAN VAN DRIEL
This article investigates the participation of girls in STEM by focusing on three areas: a) early years (0-8 years) education; b) mentoring and role models and c) careers advice. These areas are connected through the use of a common framework, the Spheres of Influence consisting of four spheres that represent physical or social distance from the individual.
Across the three focus areas in this paper, different aspects of the spheres of influence are considered. Research shows that the different spheres are influential in the formation of gendered identities in all three areas and that educators, parents, and stakeholders from industry and government should work together to help every girl make informed choices about STEM in relation to their future. Whether they decide to pursue STEM or not, their decision should not be compromised by ideas of what girls can or cannot do, or are supposed to do.