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6 Steps to Empowering Girls in STEM

Photo: Courtesy of the Girl Scouts

There’s no question that girls today are growing up digital, with more access to the internet than ever before. But despite its unstoppable growth, the tech revolution remains a contentious one. Concerns over data privacy, lack of diversity and the impending shortage of STEM professionals in the United States, make it clear that we need digital leaders who can meet these challenges with an innovative spirit.

The current generation of girls will enter a workforce in need of great tech talent — but do they have the skills, leadership and grit to make our world a better place? We’re making sure they do.

Being a digital leader requires more than knowledge and capability. By Girl Scout standards, girls who are digital leaders seek to improve their own lives and the world through their use of technology. They look critically at the information they consume online, help others build confidence in technology, and take action on issues they care about. Today’s girls are exactly what our tech workforce needs in the coming years.

So how can adults who work with girls empower them to become digital leaders?

1. Emphasize

Tell girls that they have what it takes to lead in the digital space. Girls are often given less encouragement than boys, especially around STEM.

2. Educate

Talk to girls about their online activity and help them engage safely and meaningfully. 

3. Be fair

Treat kids equally when it comes to establishing rules about tech use regardless of their gender.

4. Inform

Teach girls to be skeptical about information they find online by considering various sources and evaluating their legitimacy in order to build media literacy.

5. Encourage

Encourage girls to take healthy risks and learn from setbacks in their online activity, reminding them that some of the best innovation comes from trying, failing, and trying again (and again)

6. Explore

Give all girls a range of opportunities to explore STEM topics and careers throughout childhood and adolescence. Integrating tech education across subjects in and out of school is a perfect way to make STEM a part of their lives and education

Girls are our world’s current and future innovators, designers, advocates and community connectors. And with the right access, adult support, and awareness of opportunities, all girls can become digital leaders. Programs like Girl Scouts that support girls’ learning and leadership styles are key to building digital leadership. And if we want to create a better future, we need to give girls the confidence and belief that STEM isn’t just for young men in hoodies — digital leadership can be their future too. 

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