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Analysis: Why Are All the Stories About Boys Falling Behind Girls at School Ignoring the Forces Keeping Them There?

The 74 Million – Richard Whitmire

“A recent flurry of articles on boys falling behind in school do a great job laying out the facts — but fall short when it comes to asking the right questions. Take the recent Atlantic piece as an example. Great facts, all accurate: As of 2015, 72.5 percent of females who recently graduated from high school were enrolled in college, versus 65.8 percent of men (compared to 1967 when 57 percent of the males were in college and 47.2 percent of the females.). This is important stuff. Today, at a time when college has become the new high school as many employers demand college degrees for jobs that don’t truly need those skills, there are 2.2 million more women than men in college.”(more)

Closing the tech gender gap starts in childhood

The Guardian – Jessica Bateman

“The tech industry’s gender imbalance is no secret – only 17% of technology specific jobs are held by women. Projects to counter the problem, from conferences to mentorship programmes, are becoming widespread but are usually aimed at women already embarking on careers. Could we be doing more to close this gap during childhood? There is overwhelming evidence that our early years are crucial in shaping how we see the world and our place in it. From as early as 10 or 11, children already have strong ideas about their gender roles. According to Elle Boag, a social psychologist at Birmingham City University, children as young as seven may have ideas about the different types of job men and women should do.”(more)

Parents’ early word choices can widen STEM gender gap

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The gender gap in STEM can start when children are just learning to speak – the words parents choose to describe their child’s world could be the reason boys are outpacing girls, according to a new study. However, girls don’t start out at a disadvantage. Findings show boys are hearing spatial language at higher rates than girls and, by default, using it more as they grow. Early use of spatial language – the words and ways people describe things, people and places – can be a predictor of success in science, technology, engineering and math fields later in life, according to Shannon M. Pruden, Florida International University psychology professor and lead author of the study.”(more)

Girls outnumber boys in charter schools, study shows. Here’s why that matters.

Chalk Beat – Matt Barnum

“Look around an average charter school. The difference may be too small to be perceptible, but you might notice a few more girls than boys. That is the provocative finding of a study released late last year examining data from charter schools across the country, with a focus on North Carolina and the KIPP network of charter schools. The results re-open the long-standing debate on whether charter schools exclude or push out certain types of students.”(more)

Middle school is the pivotal point for girls in STEM

Education Dive – Stephen Noonoo

“Greater efforts are now being made by schools to encourage girls into STEM fields while their interest and comprehension is still level with boys. Some researchers believe that the best way to boost girls’ interest is by starting at home, encouraging parents to take up the charge. Other schools have begun special mentorship programs, pairing students with mentors in their community, or joining national programs such as Girls Who Code, an organization that works with thousands of girls across the country to promote computer science education.”(more)

Getting Girls into STEM: The Power of Blended (and All-Female) Instruction

Ed Surge – Alyssa Tormala

“Jackie, the team captain of St. Mary’s all-girls robotics team, knows a thing or two about breaking the mold. During a panel on the importance of STEM education for women, she explained what it’s like to be a female student competing in a male-dominated program: “Not only were we the only all-girls robotics team,” she explained of a recent competition, “we were the only team that actually allowed girls to touch the robots.” Jackie’s experience demonstrates how essential it remains to support STEM education designed for women, particularly in engineering and computer science, which remain disproportionately dominated by men. It’s a mission we live by at St. Mary’s Academy (SMA), an all-girls high school located in the heart of Portland, Ore., which has been dedicated to promoting female education for the last 157 years. At SMA, we know that young women thrive when given the chance to choose how and what they learn, while at the same time being supported by a community that believes they can succeed, regardless of gender.”(more)