Why are we talking about STEM programs for girls specifically? Aren’t boys equally entitled to STEM – or any other area of knowledge?
That’s precisely the problem.
Unlike girls, boys already have a place in science. Girls have traditionally been kept away from STEM, and that’s why we need to put more focused effort so we could even out their odds at entering AND remaining in STEM.
Many organizations have been trying to change the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields globally. UNESCO, the European Commission, The Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA) – you name it.
Women’s status in the United States consistently lags behind men’s. Despite sharing 47 percent of the US workforce, women represent only 28 percent of professionals in STEM.
The rest of the world’s countries are facing the same fiendish reality, too!
Our young girls need an enabling environment in their homes and schools with the help of STEM-based activities and toys. All they need is a little push or encouragement to not miss out on opportunities to thrive in STEM-based activities at all junctures.
There are great advancements made by many organizations around the globe to provide valuable opportunities for girls to engage with and inspire them to pursue STEM careers in the future.
With so many worthy organizations out there offering their services, we’ve decided to collate the best STEM programs that girls should definitely try!
STEM Programs for Girls
1. Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization that is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. They help create clear pathways for Girls Who Code alumni from middle and high school into the computing and engineering workforce.
They offer programs in the US, Canada, UK, and India. Head over here for locations.
- A seven-week Summer Immersion Program
- A two-week specialized Campus Program
- After School Clubs
- College Loops to connect to girls who code
2. Girl Develop It
This is a non-profit program that is available across 60 cities that focuses on creating opportunities and supportive environments for girls to learn developing skills for STEM.
And not only girls! They also prioritize non-binary individuals.
Fun fact: Girl Develop It originally started with one class in New York City that sold out in less than 24 hours!
Next time someone tells you that girls aren’t interested in STEM, feed them THAT.
- 55,000 members nationwide
- Serve adult and young women of diverse backgrounds
- Affordable web and software development programs
3. Women Who Code
Women Who Code is an international non-profit organization that envisions “a world where women are proportionally represented as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members, and software engineers”.
This organization provides services for women pursuing technology careers and a job board for companies seeking coding professionals.
As of today, they ran more than 8000 FREE events encouraging female speakers and judges at conferences and hackathons.
- 200,000 members
- Provide free technical study groups
- Build a global community by providing networking and mentorship with tech experts and investors
- Educate companies to promote, retain and hire talented women
4. STEM For Her
Let’s get a bit more local here!
Another non-profit foundation based in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., STEM for Her provides crucial funding for many programs that motivate girls and young women to participate in STEM-based field trips, attending speakers, programs, and curriculum development activities.
They are also welcoming girls and women who want to volunteer and become acting advocates of gender equality.
- 1000+ girls benefited to explore opportunities in STEM-related career
- WIT’s Girls in Technology program awarded girls in grades 6 to 12 many scholarships worth more than $20,000.
- After school STEM programs for underrepresented minority girls
5. IGNITE Worldwide
Ignite Worldwide is a great organization with a mission to spark girls’ excitement about technology careers and inspire them to new possibilities.
They locate self-identifying girls and non-binary students in grades K-12 and college from diverse backgrounds who interact with professional women in technology careers on school days.
If you’re an educator, you can sign up and start an Ignite panel at your school. You’ll get training and support for organizing virtual (and physical when times allow) events.
- Trained teachers organize panel discussions, field trips and job shadows in participating schools.
- Increased participation of girls in computer science and engineering classes through trained teachers by 30-80%
- Won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring
6. Techbridge Girls
Do you know who’s even more underrepresented in STEM than girls?
Girls from low-income communities.
Our next organization is trying to address this particular issue. One of the earliest organizations in the field, Techbridge Girls focuses on introducing girls and marginalized communities to the STEM fields. It runs after school programs in California, the Pacific Northwest, and Washington, D.C. regions.
They also provide summer STEM programs in San Francisco Bay area and provides useful resources for girls’ support networks.
- Served more than 20,000 girls through capacity building programs in national partnership programs
- Direct fun, educational and hands-on minds-on projects in after school programs
- Raised over $10,000 to ensure girls have equitable access to STEM in their areas
Girlstart focuses on its mission to lead the nation in designing and implementing innovative, high quality, and informal STEM education programs that inspire girls to make a difference.
To provide a year-round extensive suite of programs for K-12 girls, it runs summer camps, after school programs, and community STEM programs, along with excellent excursion programs for girls who love STEM.
- Girlstart Afterschool is the largest and the most robust out-of-school type program
- 70+ Texas school districts and districts in 28 states sit on a waitlist for Girlstart program
- 1600+ girls accessed free high-quality Girlstart After school and 750+ girls attended the summer camp program
Which STEM Program for Girls Would You Pick?
It is time to represent the small cohort of women excelling in STEM and motivate young girls to break centuries of old stereotypes of the inadequacy of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects.
There are different sites that provide excellent resources for young kids to develop their interests in STEM-based toys. All of which would like to take the opportunity to tell parents and educators about the available resources, camps, and excursions in STEM that they offer, especially for young girls.
Around the globe, there are many more organizations like the ones stated above serving young girls and aspiring them towards STEM-focused fields. There are coding camps, Robogals, and Code Like A Girl in Australia. While in Canada, there’s hEr Volution, TechGirls, and Code to Inspire. All of which aims at encouraging and inspiring girls to embrace their chosen STEM careers.
In order to find the best STEM program for you, try to check out their site, read the reviews about them, and take a look at the programs they offer.
Whichever program you choose, know that you’ll definitely have fun learning! And while at it, you’ll help a notch to change this world for the better.
Contributor Anita Sharma is currently undertaking PhD studies at an Australian university. She is interested in STEM education and teaching, and how to raise interest and motivation of students and teachers in STEM.