Inspiring Your Daughter With STEM
We live in a world that is continuously transforming through science and technology. From how we communicate to the products we buy to the jobs we hold, modern advances impact every area of our lives.
In a society where science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) play such critical roles, the unfortunate reality is that women are often underrepresented. Many external forces subliminally imprint that “science is for boys” from a young age.
As parents, you’re responsible for the ideas that shape your daughter’s experience and impact her future. Will she be a driven, independent woman who carves her own path in life? Or, will she aspire to fill the presumed role society has created for her?
Take a stroll through the “girls’ section” of any toy store, and you’ll see the early foundations of what “should” interest the average young girl. It’s easy to find — look for thd with toy houses, cars, and dress-up dolls. These toys lay a foundation within girls’ minds of what is acceptable and expected of them: high heels, fancy convertibles, a never-ending wardrobe, and a laundry list of “girl-friendly” hobbies like horseback riding and figure skating.
When the vast majority of toys marketed to girls are concerned with mindless consumerism, an “ideal” self-image, and domestic concerns, it’s not hard to see why women, as a whole, don’t feel they belong or aspire to attain positions in STEM industries.
To fight back against this worrying trend, parents must take direct action in raising their children to be open-minded. Children are naturally curious. If you pay attention to kids, you’ll find they observe and experiment all the time, both core aspects of the scientific method. The right tools can channel their curiosity into a passion for science. Instead of splurging for the latest superficial, mass-marketed toy, embrace the opportunity to cultivate your daughter’s interests and help stoke the flames of inspiration.
Fortunately, there are countless ways to encourage your daughter’s well-rounded hobbies. Get her outside to interact with the real world (as scientists do!) or engage in mathematical games. Buy your daughter a STEM doll as a teaching role model. Exposure to new and diverse concepts teaches your daughter to think outside of the box.
A prominent example of a constructive toy is the ever-popular building bricks. Girls usually don’t get building bricks as children; boys do. Yet, building bricks develops critical thinking, spatial memory, and pattern-recognition—all vital elements of STEM education. Playing with more enriching toys will expand your daughter’s career and academic possibilities.
We have to inspire our daughters to do whatever their hearts desire without conforming to social expectations. Additionally, we must break down barriers to entry, whether they're social stigmas or institutional impediments. The fundamental imbalance of female representation in STEM is a top-to-bottom issue, and the solution starts with parents and their children.
Parents hold the keys to their children’s future. It’s up to you to make the choices that will inspire your daughters to reach for their wildest dreams. Get started by providing the right toys to foster curiosity and innovation, then let your daughter’s creativity run wild.
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