Should STEM matter to your daughter, and to you?

Not enough girls are choosing to study science, technology, engineering and maths. A new online toolkit is here to change that

‘STEM’ is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot – but what is it, and why does it matter?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The products of STEM are all around us – from the smartphone in your pocket to the way the weather is predicted.

The world is changing fast.

  • It’s predicted that 65% of young people in primary school today will work in jobs that don’t exist yet.
  • We know that STEM skills and ways of working things out will help young people to work in the careers of our increasingly tech-driven future.
  • STEM jobs are growing faster than other jobs, with 75% of the fastest growing occupations requiring STEM skills and knowledge.
  • And 82% of employees say STEM skills are valuable in the workplace, even when they’re not directly stated as part of the job.

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STEM contributes a lot to our economic growth and prosperity and is vital to facing the challenges of our future, from climate change, to curing disease and building smarter cities and more sustainable communities.

Girls in STEM Toolkit

For young people today, STEM means opportunity – but a gender gap persists that means girls are at risk of missing out. Women remain underrepresented in STEM both during school and later on in the workforce – only 16% of Australian STEM professionals are women. And when you ask a group of nine-year-olds to draw a scientist, two-thirds will draw a man.

But now, a new online resource has been launched that’s designed to bust stereotypes and inspire the next generation of women in STEM.

Funded by the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Girls in STEM Toolkit (aka The GiST) is a new website that features pages of inspiring and informative content aimed at students, teachers and families. For example, students can read about other young people doing cool things in STEM, how STEM can make the world a better place and all about imposter syndrome and how to combat it, plus much more.

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You can’t be what you can’t see – so The GiST presents the real-life career stories of inspiring role models. Women like Erin Hughes, a water engineer whose STEM career has included working with remote communities in the Torres Strait and helping councils affected by the 2011 Queensland flood disaster. “I wanted a job where I could make a difference and contribute to my society,” she says.

Students can also take an interactive STEM career quiz that will help them discover the right pathway for them, or browse hundreds of potential STEM careers in a comprehensive A to Z directory.

There are also articles and resources for families, and lesson plans for teachers. Visit thegist.edu.au

STEM Contributor

Author: STEM Contributor

This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.

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