Encouraging girls to not afraid of ‘taking part in STEM fields’
There are many reasons why girls are afraid to enter STEM majors, especially the gender gap issue. According to data from BPS (Badan Pusat Statistik), there is only 30 percent of women who work in STEM industries. Then, subconscious bias comes into play based on the study’s lead author by Rose O’Dea. The stereotypical belief hinders girls that they’re not as good as boys in these fields and by the fact that STEM is seen as a male domain.
“Stem isn’t an equal playing field for women — and so women often go down paths with less male competition,” — Rose O’Dea.
Media portrayals also the reason why girls be a minority in STEM fields. Institute on Gender in Media, founded by Hollywood actor Geena Davis (she played the girlfriend of scientist Jeff Goldblum in The Fly), found that nearly 63 percent of Stem characters portrayed in the media were men and that this almost 2:1 ratio hasn’t changed in the past decade.
So, how do we encourage more girls to defy the stereotypes and take up Stem fields? One answer, O’Dea adds, is providing role models.
“Girls tend to do better when they’re taught by a woman with a strong maths background, so they can see they can do math, too.”
O’Dea ‘s words enlighten me to be one of the role models to make girls brave enough to walk into STEM fields. Besides, my background as a computer engineering student who only has one woman classmate and many stereotypica lwords I got make me realize that three reasons happens in STEM majors at universities.
In 2019, I tried to get involved in girls empowering movement in STEM. My first contribution is a mentor for Generation Girl Summer Club in July and continues with Winter Club in December.
The story began when my friend asks me to replace her as a mentor for the Summer club held by Generation Girl. First, I don’t have an idea about the organization also the event. I just put my self in the blank to teach Android introduction class for 15 rookies (students of the Summer club) who are 12 until 18 years girls. The club runs for four days that the last day is project presentation day and one day for a field trip to GoJek HQ. Besides learning, we also have a public speaking workshop facilitated by Adinda Sukardi and sharing from Clarine Karyadi about her experience working as a digital banker.
We are not only learning about programming in the club but also how to deliver spirit to be brave walking through the programming field, but encouraging them is not as easy as it looks. The mimic of programming is a hard thing, and only genius people could understand sometimes make them feel inferior. Gratefully, I’ve many helpers to make the class up, lift their motivation, and make them give the best for the final project. I can say, “from zero to hero” is the best way to describe my class from that two-holiday club. They start with zero knowledge in programming, but in the end, they could present an excellent final project which i never image it could be like that before. They also start with a lack of confidence in programming, but they could give a result beyond the expectation.
For me, it not only a programming class which only about teaching and learning in one way (teacher to student). I was also learning from their curious question, so I gain new knowledge that I didn’t know before. We are like friends who were talking about everything in break time and sharing our experience; they also support each other to finish the final project with the best quality.
The encouraging mission, which seems hard at first, become fantastic experience for me. Some of the rookies told me to want to continue exploring these fields at university (exactly two until four people already plan to continue their study at CS major) and another activity or course to learn more about programming in another language.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to read this article and want to start your journey in STEM fields. Don’t afraid to start, it seems hard at first, but when you are walking through with high motivation., you can make something beyond the expectation. Find your role models in the STEM field to be your motivation. We are girls/women who can do it; we also can be part of STEM industries.
These are my moments with them, and I am very thankful to Generation Girl that already gives me an opportunity to empowering girls in STEM.