Monday, April 16, 2018

Book Nook: Girls With Dreams - Inspiring Girls to Code and Create in the New Generation

Only 29% of all science and engineering workers are female, and far less are minorities. Some people argue that this is because girls aren't as interested in STEM careers, but based on my experience as a teacher and a parent of very science-minded girls (a 10-year-old who loves coding and studying animals and an 8-year-old who is getting into forensics and investigation), I don't think that's entirely the case. Neither does Natasha Ravinand, a high school junior with a passion for science and tech careers. 

She may be young, but she's spent a significant amount of time trying to close the gender gap. She's a global coding ambassador for the award-winning women's platform, Mogul, and has been named one of the top 50 influential high-schoolers in the world. She is also the founder of She Dreams in Code, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing coding opportunities for middle school girls.

I had a chance to read her new book, Girls With Dreams: Inspiring Girls to Code and Create in the New Generation. It's a fairly comprehensive book, and good for those who are just getting interested in the issue. For someone like me, who's been working to encourage girls in STEM since I was a teen interested in STEM myself, there isn't a great deal of new information. However, it's still inspiring to read words from a young adult who is also trying to make change. The book is well-researched, and includes personal stories and interviews from industry experts.

Some of the key points in the book.
·       Middle grade and high school years see the highest drop-off for girls to lose interest in technology.
·       The consensus in the STEM community is that, during this time, young women are first introduced to male competition and the “bro culture” – a less-than inclusive environment that discourages them and turns them away.
·       Acknowledging the gender biases of the status quo clearly and distinctly, rather than accepting them as the norm.
·       By making young women aware of the prejudice surrounding them, a cooperative, inclusive environment to reach solutions can be created. Because of this, she believes that it can encourage thousands of girls to join tech once more.

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