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Attracting Girls To STEM

Schools and communities need to create STEM programming that engages girls earlier in their elementary and secondary-school education to shift the current dynamic. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s STEM Gateways Act is an attempt to provide federal grants for programs in elementary, middle and high school, with the goal of creating opportunities in STEM fields for girls, minorities and children from all economic backgrounds. It includes after-school opportunities and supports career exploration and workforce training for high school students. Across the country, schools and communities have begun adopting programs and initiatives to attract more girls to STEM, as early in their academic careers as possible.


Some schools are supporting interdisciplinary STEM projects as early as the primary grades and providing opportunities for girls to learn about careers they may never have been exposed to in the past.


In- and out-of-school programs help girls understand the opportunities available to them in math and science. These programs are incredibly successful in sparking girls’ interest in STEM fields and provide a foundation for future STEM education.


National clubs have given added attention to the importance of introducing girls to STEM and are motivating young girls to explore field typically dominated by males.

College Outreach Programs/Scholarships

Many colleges and universities sponsor STEM summer programs for young girls. These outreach programs allow girls to develop an interest in STEM in elementary school, middle school, and high school:




For Black and African-American STEM Majors

For Women in STEM

Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program

A four-week residential program each July for female high school students that provides the opportunity to do hands-on research with Smith faculty in life/physical sciences and engineering.

It’s a Girl Thing

Texas Tech University offer K-8 and high school students a residential camping experience while experiencing university life, recreational activities and hands-on classes ranging from nano-energy to animal science.

Survey the World of Engineering

High school students can participate in a one-week camp for young women to develop creativity and visit corporate engineering plants to meet professional engineers.


Girls entering 8th to 12th grade can find out what engineering is all about in this program that emphasizes career exposure rather than career choice, working in teams and gaining valuable insight from Houston-area female engineers.

CURIE Academy

Several schools, including Cornell, Rutgers and the College of New Jersey, sponsor CURIE Academy, a one-week summer residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science.


Girls entering 5th through 9th grade are invited to Girlgeneering at the University of Texas at Arlington. The camp strives to increase the interest of high ability young women in a career in engineering by combating stereotypes, creating connections, reducing the issue of competition for resources with boys, and demonstrating the real-world social impact of engineering.

Pretty Brainy 

Pretty Brainy inspires girls academically and professionally, with the goal of helping them to gain the confidence to deepen their knowledge in STEM. The organization promotes the enhancement of learning, critical thinking and student engagement, focusing on problem-solving, risk-taking and innovation. The Colorado nonprofit was founded on the following principles:

  • Keep girls as strong and confident in their STEAM abilities in middle and high school as they are in elementary school.

  • Stamp out, for all time, notions that girls “can’t do math” and aren’t interested in the “hard” sciences.

  • Equip girls with the STEAM learning each one needs to believe in the beauty of her dreams and pursue her greatest ambitions.

Pretty Brainy offers several workshops including Pretty Brilliant, where middle and high school girls team up with university students to design the lighting for a Habitat for Humanity home for a single mother and her children. Other programs include Textiles + TechStyles: Electronic Textiles and Design Thinking and Textiles + TechStyles: E-Textile Jewelry Design.

Educators can order Fashionably Mashes: The Stem of Fashion Design, a teacher-designed learning kit to successfully engage students underrepresented in STEM learning. The kit is designed to help teachers implement lessons that show designers are knowledgeable about math, science, technology, history, environmental studies, human behavior, art and more.

STEM-Related Links

This is a list of female-friendly organization/web links for STEM subjects.

  • Harvard's Project Implicit: Take quizzes on your own personal biases (Gender Science test is directly applicable).

  • The American Association of University Women: AAUW has committed to building a STEM Pipeline for Girls and Women with a multipronged strategy that includes research, programs for girls and investing in STEM education where women have been fundamentally misrepresented.

  • Million Women Mentors: MWM is an engagement campaign and national call-to-action that seeks to engage higher education groups, corporations, nonprofit organizations and the government to create mentoring opportunities for girls and young women in STEM fields. It aims to counter negative stereotypes and give young women the confidence to pursue STEM education.

  • National Girls Education Project: NGEP is dedicated to bringing together organizations to maximize STEM resources for school counselors that they can share with female students. The group is also focused on delivering information and resources through webinars, mini-grants and professional development forums.

  • Girls Go Techbridge: Various Girl Scout Councils throughout the country partner with Girls Go Techbridge, offering “Programs in a Box.” These boxes store all the materials necessary to implement STEM lessons to groups of up to 10 girls, including leader guides, activities and icebreakers.

  • Google's Made with Code: Encouraging girls to code.

  • GoldieBlox: GoldieBlox is a disruptive children’s media company challenging gender stereotypes with the world’s first girl engineer character. Through the integration of storytelling and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles, GoldieBlox is building a global character franchise with videos, animation, books, apps, curriculum and merchandise; the tools that empower girls to build their confidence, dreams and ultimately, their futures.

  • Girlstart: This site was created to help you empower your students in STEM. Here you will find free Girlstart curriculum, STEM resources, effective messaging tips, collaboration opportunities, and more.

  • Curiosity Machine: Hands-on science projects.

  • Product Design Maker: Product design videos and resources.

  • Nicerc: Cyber curriculum, STEM curriculum and computer science curriculum for all grades K through 12.

  • Instructibles: Classes and instructions on how to make things. 

  • Earth Science Week: Educational resources in science. 

  • Database for coding education and resources.

  • Ozobot: Resource for creators. STEAM lessons. Educational kits.

  • Engineering All Sorts: Engineering All Sorts exists to help you as an educator to become more confident in engineering concepts and thinking, and to help you grow your STEM strengths.

  • GLEIM Aviation: Gleim Aviation provides resources designed to help educators integrate an aviation STEM curriculum into their classrooms. Professional development and lesson resources.

  • Crosscutting Concepts: Educational forensic and kids science kits and database.

  • Defined STEM: Defined STEM is a K-12 project based learning solution that provides engaging, authentic lessons built around careers. Cross-curricular projects provide opportunities for students to deepen understanding and apply their knowledge in real world scenarios.

  • STEM Playground: STEM activities and nationwide contests.

  • The Science Spot: A massive science database for middle school science educators. 

  • KiwiCo: Science and art subscriptions.

  • STEM Teacher Inspiration: A site where other teachers provide some resources, ideas, and inspiration in biology, chemistry, forensics, and technology.

  • Qubits: Hands on kits to construct toys and projects. 

  • EquatIO: Digital math - A fully-fledged assignment-giving, formative assessment tool, EquatIO has great, built-in features for Google Slides and Forms, as well as EquatIO mobile, which captures and digitizes real-life mathematical literacy situations. EquatIO includes an innovative mathspace dashboard, allowing teachers to create assignments for their students and keep track of responses.

  • Who's She: Who's She: A Guess Who spinoff; “Who’s She?” uses biography cards with fun facts and anecdotes about each inspiring woman. 

  • EarSketch: Learning to code by making music. 

  • CodeHS: For teaching coding and computer science to students. 

  • Teach Engineering: K-12 STEM Engineering curriculum. 

  • National Education Association: Science, technology, engineering & mathematics curriculum resources for preK-12.

  • Science Buddies: Hands-on STEM lesson plans, kits, etc. for science and engineering.

  • STEMfinity: Free STEM educational resources.

  • Robotics education and competition foundation. Inspiring students, one robot at a time.

  • Little Bits: An award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks for creating STEM hand-on inventions large and small. Anyone can be an inventor with the right tools! Get started with curated packs. Easy To Teach. Coding skills. Fun & engaging. Engineering skills. Amenities: 21st Century learning, integrates into classroom, co-designed with teachers.

  • Womens Audio Mission: A San Francisco-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts. Only 5% of the people creating the sound and media in our lives are women. Audio utilizes all of the STEM subjects. 

  • Northwest Lab Gender Equity Center: We believe all children have the right to reach their full social and educational potential. We also believe we must address inequities within our education system. Education Northwest partners with schools and organizations to incorporate educational equity into policies, procedures, and classroom practices to address achievement and opportunity gaps and support the success of all students.

  • Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school.

  • National Academies: Since 1990, the National Research Council has hosted the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM), which organizes events dedicated to promoting exactly what the name states. Listen to radio shows about the past, present, and possible futures of women working in the STEM fields, courtesy of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and the National Science Foundation.

  • STEMinist: Stay on top of news, views, trends, and research about women in STEM through profiles, articles, networking opportunities, and other media.

  • NASA: NASA supports an initiative encouraging women and girls to pursue careers in the aerospace industry, with plenty of recruitment and career opportunities meant to close the gender gap.

  • TechWomen: Presented by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, TechWomen promotes collaboration between America, Middle East, and North Africa as a means of furthering science and technology as well as cultural harmony.

  • Association for Women in Science: AWIS partners with other organizations and businesses in order to address issues of women working in the STEM fields and keep young girls interested in studying the related subjects.

  • National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity: Women and minorities are incredibly underrepresented in the STEM fields, and this partnership between the National Advisory Board, Extension Services, and multiple local and national organizations and businesses hopes to change that unfortunate reality permanently.

  • Association for Women in Mathematics: This organization’s goals revolve around encouraging young girls to pursue mathematical studies if they enjoy them, as well as promoting the efforts of novice and established women with careers in the field.

  • National Center for Women & Information Technology: Whether an established career woman or an activist and educator looking to nurture a love of IT in young girls, the NCWIT makes for a great organization to get involved with and promote workplace diversity.

  • Women in Astronomy: Head to the Women in Astronomy blog for updated news and commentary about issues pertaining to astronomy, astrophysics, physics, and the ladies who practice them.

  • Society of Women Engineers: When it comes to promoting STEM education amongst young girls and college students as well as celebrating the contributions of female engineers, SWE is one of the best resources both online and off.

  • 4000 Years of Women in Science Biography Listing: University of Alabama provides a plethora of capsule biographies of some important women in STEM history, so stop by and pay respects to the groundbreakers who made today’s opportunities possible.

  • San Diego Supercomputer Center: Despite the title, this e-book by The San Diego Supercomputer Center also celebrates female mathematicians and engineers with major influence over their respective fields – even if their male peers refused to acknowledge them.

  • Women in Research and Innovation: It’s not just American organizations compiling their resources to make the STEM fields more equitable for women; the European Commission launched Science: It’s a Girl Thing! to start destigmatizing perceptions of science, math, and engineering as purely masculine realms.

  • MentorNet pairs up established female and minority science and education professionals with up-and-comers to ensure they know how to navigate businesses predominantly populated by white males.

  • National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science: This organization devotes itself to closing the gender gaps in both STEM and law enforcement, with tons of information and research for businesses and schools hoping to increase their gender diversity.

  • STEMconnector: STEMConnect celebrates the 100 women currently working in STEM who are keeping their industries moving forward through a massive e-book and a reception honoring honorees’ contributions.

  • Association for Women in Computing: Consisting of institutions and individuals, the AWC offers up networking opportunities, mentorships, and more for female students and professionals who love the computer sciences.

  • Women in Math Project: Marie A. Vitulli at the University of Oregon collects research and resources regarding women and math, from intersections with feminist philosophy to fellowships and funding to biographies of great ladies who shaped the field.

  • The Gender Equity Project: Hunter College, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation team up for a comprehensive project meant to shatter the last remaining glass ceilings within STEM.

  • National Girls Collaborative Project: Women in STEM active in their communities who want to lend their time and expertise to nurturing a love of science, tech, and math in the next generation of young ladies might want to participate in this incredible initiative.

  • TED: In order to counter claims that the face of STEM is “a nerdy guy with no social skills,” the open source juggernaut collected over 70 talks by leading female scientists, mathematicians, technologists, and engineers into one impressive list.

  • Women in STEM: A guide for women interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines.

  • Links for Gender Equity: Websites for beginning research on gender equity. 

  • Rich Resources on Gender Equity Issues:

  • Video Resources on Gender Equity:

  • Great Source for Gender Research: 

  • Great Resource for Financial Literacy for Students:

  • Great Resource for Financial Literacy, Targeting the Black Community:

  • Great Resource for Financial Literacy, Targeting Women:

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