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Letter to the Editor: So thankful for STEM story


Thank you for Christy Steadman’s excellent article about girls (and women) in STEM courses and careers in last week’s issue.

The American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) 2010 research project was cited and I’d like to provide some additional information from its 2015 study, “Solving the Equation.” That updated research found four main factors that still address underrepresentation of women in science, technology,
engineering and math.

  1. Combating stereotypes – and these are culturally based. Implicit as well as explicit biases inform boys and girls.
  2.  Emphasizing social relevance – incorporating communal aspects are needed to increase appeal for community oriented people
  3. Cultivating a sense of “being a scientist”
  4. Changing the environment – women have fewer resources for balancing work and non-work
  5. As stated in the article, the number of women in STEM has remained low from 1960-2013. 

As Coloradans we can be proud that our schools (starting at the elementary level) provide opportunities for girls to pursue STEM courses and careers and there are so many community outreach programs; Girls in STEM, Girls and Science at DMNS, Girl Scouts Engineering Day, and various summer camps and workshops. Exposure, stimulating interest and encouraging activities build confidence particularly in girls.

The AAUW has been advocating gender equity for women and girls since 1881.
Thank you again for this article. As Barb Goodman said at the conclusion of the article, “More women are needed to bring new and different perspectives to solve future challenges. Diversity makes us richer.”

Jill Smith,
Highlands Ranch
President, AAUW Littleton-South Metro Branch



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