Research shows that women are under-represented in leadership roles, yet are better leaders. They are also under-represented in many industries and those industries recognize their value and want them. To bring about change and enlighten the girls, the schools need awareness, information, resources, services and tools.
You will find that throughout this website Mathematics is stressed. For some reason, today it is assumed that due to technology, the knowledge and understanding of Mathematics is no longer a necessity, i.e. Consumer Math – use of a calculator – is all that's needed. Actually, the truth is, that Mathematics is more important today than at any previous time in history. And unfortunately, the lack of math skills is exacerbated by today's gap between skills and needs. If teachers are telling students that Math is hard and clerks are using a calculator to multiply by 10, then we need to worry.
Read this article and start saving for a Math tutor, but test their knowledge first. Elementary teachers’ weak math skills spark mandatory crash courses (Toronto Star, May 13, 2016, Louise Brown). It starts out, "Amid falling student scores, faculties of education are tackling a “huge problem” among Ontario elementary teachers who don’t “get” basic math. Elementary teachers’ weak math skills — some can’t even recall Grade 6 fractions — have sent Ontario teachers’ colleges scrambling to launch mandatory crash courses, with some making student teachers pass a math test to graduate." All students are suffering, but then add in the gender card, and our girls are in even more trouble.
A recent article Gender-Science Stereotypes Persist Across the World (May 19, 2015 - Northwestern University) discusses a new Northwestern University study "Women’s Representation in Science Predicts National Gender-Science Stereotypes: Evidence From 66 Nations" which includes data from nearly 350,000 people in 66 nations. The Netherlands had the strongest stereotypes associating science with men more than women, but these stereotypes are prevalent across the world -- even in nations such as Argentina and Bulgaria where women are roughly half of science majors in colleges and universities and employed researchers. The article will surprise you as will the study, the largest ever of its kind.
Women represent the majority of university graduates in Canada, however they remain under-represented and in many cases discouraged from taking courses in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and computer sciences fields. Impressions, limitations, ideas… start in the early grades. Here are some links to recent studies:
Today the world is moving at supersonic speed due to technology and North America is falling behind. We are just in the beginning stages and we are already falling behind. We need to prepare our students, and girls in particular, for this and the future world. This includes precise language skills – particularly in the languages of mathematics, the sciences and coding. Advanced mathematics should be the norm, not an elective that needs to be started in grade 8 or 9. Without advanced math, all the under-represented industries are closed to our girls, as are the leadership roles. We must open all doors for our students, not close most of them because of the misconception that consumer math (what can be done on a smartphone or computer) is enough.
Our situation is dire. Malkin Dare, Former President of the Society for Quality Education, makes some alarming observations in her Huffington Post Blog, "Ontario's Math Scores Are Down, So Creating STEM Jobs Doesn't Add Up" posted on May 22, 2014. Ontario isn't the only province that's in trouble. It's our whole country. To study a STEM program, advanced math must be started in grade 8 or 9, but if teachers don’t understand math, how can they teach it? – Elementary teachers’ weak math skills spark mandatory crash courses (thestar.com May 13, 2016)
Recent STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) News
Ontario math training needs a full revamp (Anna Stokke, April 6, 2016 - The Globe and Mail)
Report: Despite Equity Initiatives, STEM Gaps Persist (Joshua Bolkan, June 29, 2015 Campus Technology)
Math Quest tailored to high school girls (June 16, 2015 - The Whig Standard)
Science, sexism and the Nobel laureate (June 16, 2015 - The Globe and Mail)
Sexism in science often stems from ‘guy blindness,’ not malice (June 12, 2015 - The Globe and Mail)
Gender Inequality in Scientific Professions – Global Survey Results (June 12, 2015 - Business Wire Canada)
Study: Misperception Discourages Girls From Studying Some STEM Fields (June 11, 2015 - Lab Manager Magazine)
Sally Ride, first American woman in space, saluted in Google Doodle (May 26, 2015 - CBC.ca)
STEM connects young students with math, science (May 09, 2015 - Calgary Herald)
NYC students to be offered free STEM classes in program (May 07, 2015 - DailyNews724.com)
Grade nine girls hit post-secondary campuses across Calgary to discover wonders of STEM (May 06, 2015 - SAIT Polytechnic)
University of Waterloo joins UN program promoting women in STEM fields (May 05, 2015 - 24News.ca)
Why there are still far too few women in STEM (April 21, 2015 - Macleans.ca)
Girls just wanna have fun — with science (April 13, 2015 - Hamilton Spectator)
Twin 'Girls in Science' events will encourage the next generation of young minds (April 08, 2015 - McMaster Daily News)
Women benefit from working in woman-dominated teams, study shows (April 07, 2015 - Phys Org)
SciGirls explores citizen science in season three (March 26, 2015 - Kid Screen)
The 5 Biases Pushing Women Out of STEM (March 24, 2015, Joan Williams, Harvard Business Review)
7 ways to inspire a love of STEM in tweens and teens (March 10, 2015 - Star News)
Girls lack self-confidence in maths and science problems, study finds (OECD) (March 06, 2015 - The Guardian UK)
Seven strategies to advance women in science (March 06, 2015 - Phys Org)
Fewer girls in math? Blame biased teachers (February 23, 2015 - DailyNews724.com)
Think again about gender gap in science (February 17, 2015, Phys.org)
Women needed in STEM jobs for the sake of innovation (Paul Bray, January 5, 2015 - The Telegraph UK)
How do men and women respond to gender bias in STEM? (Psychology of Women Quarterly, January 8, 2015)
Tomorrow’s Problem Solvers: Growing a Strong STEM Workforce (STEM Education News, December 15, 2014)
STEM Education: A Diverse Commitment (STEM Education News, December 15, 2014)
To help you
We will be creating mini-websites in professions that are under-represented by women. The pilot mini-website, Information Technology, is up and running and is updated on a regular basis. You must check out the interactive, multimedia PDF e-magazine, "Future Leaders in IT", which is meant to sit on your local school websites. New mini-websites will be launched as new e-magazines are started, although you will find a couple of pages on the Engineering mini-website. We would love to start the Physics mini-website and its e-magazine – Physics today is absolutely incredible. Did you know that Canada (Waterloo, ON) has the world renown Perimeter Institute, a leading centre for scientific research, training and educational outreach in foundational theoretical physics? Its Outreach Program for students and teachers is amazing. Here's a link to the recently (March 6, 2015) held "Future Women in Science" Conference. Luckily it was video-taped, so sit back and enjoy. It takes 2 1/2 hours, but it's worth every minute.
The business sector wants to provide the awareness. The educators say they need the awareness. The educators and the business sector have limited existing communication, yet have a joint responsibility and opportunity to support female leadership. This is to be the beginning of a wonderful relationship.
The government recognizes the need for change
“The number one priority of our government is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Leitch. “I want to encourage young women to consider career opportunities in every field – in the sciences, business, technology and skilled trades, as well in the natural resources sector.”
The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, October 31, 2013
“Empowering more women to succeed in non-traditional careers makes sense for Canadian women and for Canada’s economy,” said Minister Leitch. “It will also help to break down barriers and inspire young women and girls to pursue a wide variety of career options.”
The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, July 18, 2013
“Women and girls are socialized to believe that some jobs are out of reach for them. We need to find the right strategies to allow girls and women to dare to dream of possibilities in a wider range of occupations.”
Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women
December 2010, 40th Parliament, 3rd Session
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** has basic mini-website started