Nicki Kornbluth

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Nicki Kornbluth
Posted over 1 year ago
Will making rockstars out of women in science get more girls interested in science/technology/engineering/math (i.e. STEM) fields?
I think more than "making rockstars" out of women in the STEM fields, we need to evaluate the reason that there are few women to make rockstars out of in the first place. In the 90's, Mattel put out a talking Barbie who famously said "Math class is tough!" I'm sure the company was trying to make something girls could relate to, but that's the problem! Now any girl playing with that Barbie who was struggling in math class might say "Yeah! Math class is tough!" and resign themselves to never understanding math. So many friends of mine in high school would try to do their math homework, not understand it and throw their hands in the air. "Oh yeah, that concept is pretty tough" I'd say "Do you want me to explain it to you?" However rather than take an extra ten minutes to understand the concept, they'd copy the answers from the back of the book. "Nah, its fine. I just really don't like math." I think that the long lasting stigma that girls aren't good at math gives people an excuse to give up when it gets tough. I think no matter how many female mathematicians I list, these friends aren't going to believe in themselves. Low self esteem tends to plague developing girls as it is, so when a subject gets difficult, it's easier to say "I don't like it" than "I don't understand it." Since no one was expecting them to excel anyway, they get away with it. Honestly, rather than "rock stars" I think we need more "garage band" women in STEM. Amazing teachers who care about their students are the real way to further the STEM fields. I know my interest in Math has stemmed from fantastic teachers over the years, men and women alike. If we can get to girls (AND BOYS!) early and make these subjects fun, and instill a love for thinking, I think this problem would straighten itself out soon. Obviously, seeing women in science as "rockstars" shows young girls that it IS possible, and that no, it's NOT weird to like math, but I think we have other issues at hand as well.