Girls’ low participation in STEM education leads to lower STEM degree attainment, and then lower STEM career participation, for women. Given that STEM careers are growing at twice the rate of other careers, it’s important to ensure that girls’ interest in STEM careers is encouraged as much as possible to ensure their ability to pursue well-paid STEM jobs in future isn’t compromised by low STEM program participation early in life. To this end, a better understanding of the factors that affect girls’ participation, or lack thereof, in STEM programs is needed to inform responses to this issue.
While it’s important to make STEM education available to children of all genders to ensure that they’re aware of these opportunities and the careers they might lead to, the recent focus on girls in STEM has gone too far to the point of eroding meritocracy and marginalizing boys and men. Rather than pouring taxpayer money into single-sex education of any type (which Title IX may disallow), it’d be better to spend federal government resources on addressing broader-based challenges associated with educational equity, and preK-12 STEM programs that are open to all students.