Specialist: For Girls to Pursue Science Fields, They Need Nurturing in ’Safe Spaces’

Before they learn it’s all “boy stuff.”

An education specialist at Central Queensland University in Australia says young girls, from 10-14, need to be “nurtured” in a “safe space” science class before they get the idea that STEM fields are for boys only.

“We need to provide a non-judgmental bridge period until girls are confident enough to embrace the idea of engaging in science and technology,” Dr. Wendy Fasso said.

Fasso wants girls reached at a prime age before they view science as “nerd stuff” or “boy stuff” and before they start getting “conflicting messages” about gender stereotypes:

“We need to reach them and capture their interests before the ages when they are interrogating who they are and before they are bombarded with conflicting messages about stereotypes and gender roles.

“Promoting science to girls in Years 10, 11 and 12 through university school visits is admirable but is really too late for maximum influence.

“I’ve been drawing the dots and can see it’s crucial that, during the ages they are formulating their ideas of who they are and what they can achieve, and forming their friendship circles, we influence their study interests and ensure they are proud to be science nerds.”  

Fasso has created a project that helps bridge the girls’ interest gap by mixing art, fashion, and hairstyles with software coding technologies. She said most girls begin the program not wanting to be called a nerd, but leave “proud to be identified as a science nerd.”

These programs, Fasso said, need to be introduced to girls at younger and younger ages:

“My studies are showing that girls in upper primary school are trying to construct who they are and are getting conflicting messages … that’s the critical time to be working with them.

“This upper primary time is when they are facing body issues and social pressures while exploring who they are and what they are capable of.

“When girls are little they are built up and told they are all wonderful but as they progress into high school their own self-concept is challenged.

“We need a circuit breaker just before they reach high school to break the pressure that’s on them to avoid nerdiness and to try to be too cool for school.”

Liberals like to claim that everyone is equal regardless of gender, but then turn around and demand special treatment for females. Is that supposed to help them when they go into a STEM field and are suddenly surrounded by men? Why not instill confidence in all students and stop shielding them from reality? There are no “safe spaces” in the real world, and it will be quite a shock when these future scientists realize there is no one around to coddle them.