A new report card finds that we are still a long way from gender equity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Although women now constitute 48% of the college-educated workforce in the U.S., they hold only a quarter (24%) of jobs in STEM.
This persistent gender gap in STEM is driven by gender stereotypes, and it starts early. Boys receive more encouragement than girls to get involved in STEM, are encouraged to be more active in STEM activities in high school, and are more likely to pursue STEM degrees in college, enter a STEM profession, stay in a STEM profession, and advance to a leadership position in STEM. Women in STEM also face discouragingly high rates of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
According to a recent study from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and the Lyda Hill Foundation, girls are inspired to pursue STEM professions when they see women scientists in entertainment media. This is why it’s so important that our friends at GoldieBlox have created Fast Forward Girls, a fun new YouTube series dedicated to empowering young women to pursue STEM.
The creators of Fast Forward Girls know a thing or two about chemistry and formulas for success—pairing current YouTube influencers with real-life women in STEM on YouTube, the most popular website visited by kids.
Each episode features a young girl paired with two women mentors in different STEM fields (think burgers of the future, slime scientists, and conservationists) who provide an insider view on their careers—in a way that isn’t accessible to most students.
When the creators learned that the majority of STEM roles in the media are played by men—and mostly white men, they knew that bringing women in STEM to small screens was of vital importance if we’re going to make advances in women’s representation in these careers. GoldieBlox founder Debbie Sterling says about the series that “I want this series to show girls that there are lots of female role models in STEM and that they’re happy with their jobs!”
Take Action! Forward this to all the girls in your life. And subscribe to Fast Forward Girls on YouTube to support this important project.