A growth mindset is a winning mindset. There is no downside to a girl believing that she has the capacity to grow her intelligence and to acquire new skills. And it’s important to know that neuroscience is on her side. Everything we are learning about plasticity of the brain supports the hope that people can learn and grow throughout life, overcoming obstacles along the way.
When girls believe their brains can grow, there is an increase in their confidence and engagement. In fact, the Girl Scouts Research Institute (GSRI), which is dedicated to “elevating the voices of girls on issues that matter to them and their futures,” and to dispelling myths about education for girls, surveys girls themselves to learn about their perceptions, interests and abilities, using a strengths-based approach. This has revealed an enthusiasm for STEAM and provided clues to stopping the erosion of interest in such subjects as girls grow up. In its report, Generation STEM, the Girl Scouts found:
- Three quarters of high school girls are interested in STEM subjects
- Girls who are interested in STEM have supportive adult networks and exposure to STEM fields
- 85% of girls like puzzles and solving problems
- 83% of girls surveyed like working on hands-on science projects
- African American and Hispanic girls are interested in STEM but need more support and exposure to STEM
- 92% of girls believe they are smart enough to have a career in STEM
According to the study, “How Girl Scout STEM Programs Benefit Girls,” girls who participated in Girls STEAM Ahead programs across the country have said that girls who studied these subjects through the program, “became more positive about these subjects after participating: between 42% and 56% liked science more, and between 39% and 42 % liked math more after the program than they had at its start,” according to the report.
By participating in such courses, and learning that they can succeed in STEM and STEAM courses, girls learn that they can succeed in subjects where society has traditionally dicated that boys prefer and are more talented in.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about such initiatives as the Girl Scouts and other groups have shown. Have you yourself ever participated in them, or do you encourage the girls in your life to do so? Thank you for sharing.