Looking for ways to empower girls in your life? We’re sharing this exclusive excerpt from VentureGirls, written by our founder Dr. Cristal Glangchai, on the importance of advocating for girls in STEM fields and beyond! Plus, don’t miss our mentorship activity to help you think about how to build rapport and a relationship with your VentureGirl!
Be an advocate for your daughter—and for everybody’s daughter:
Entrepreneur John Wooley works with his elementary-age daughter CaryBeth on her school science fair project every year. It’s a bonding experience that extends over the course of several weeks, allowing her hands-on experience with science as well as a glimpse into the entrepreneurial process that is her father’s world. She knows that when science fair day arrives, she will have to present her project to the judges much the way an entrepreneur might demonstrate a product prototype to investors. So she works with her dad in advance to practice speaking clearly and persuasively about her work.
CaryBeth struggles with dyslexia, and John sees the science fair project as an opportunity to show his daughter that she can still do anything she sets her mind to. She is learning that just as dyslexia doesn’t hold her back as she works hard on her science fair projects, it won’t hold her back in life—because she won’t let it.
For the past few years, CaryBeth has won or placed in the science fair for her grade at school, recently winning first place in fifth grade and proceeding to the citywide science fair. But her father sees a disturbing trend. Each year as CaryBeth’s cohort advances to the next grade, fewer students compete. Worse, even fewer girls compete. Before they’ve left elementary school, most girls have begun to shift gradually away from science.
One of the most important things that families who hope to raise VentureGirls can do is to support greater equity for kids of both genders and from every background when it comes to STEM and entrepreneurial studies. We all need to set an example of fairness and non-bias in the way we treat the girls and boys around us.
And as citizens, we need to advocate for having greater resources dedicated to the teaching of science, technology, engineering, math, and entrepreneurship in our public schools. This is a cause you can support in many ways: through the vote you cast every year when the local school budget comes up for approval; through the comments you make at school board meetings, town hall gatherings, PTA events, or just among your circle of friends; through letters to the editor and Internet comments you write; and through the encouragement you offer to local political leaders about devoting the money needed to make sure our schools are well equipped to produce the STEM- and entrepreneurship-savvy young people we’ll need in the future.
Try this activity at home: Let’s get to know each other!
And being an advocate for kids—especially girls—can also be expressed in small, simple, yet important ways in your daily life. If you are serving as a mentor to an ambitious young woman, here’s an activity that will help you think about how to build rapport and a relationship with your VentureGirl!
Time required: 45-60 minutes
What you need: Time and space to meet comfortably with the young woman who is your mentee (Zoom can work well, too!)