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Letter to the editor: An important article


An important article

Thank you for Christy Steadman’s excellent article about girls (and women) in STEM courses and careers in last week’s issue.

The American Association of University Women’s 2010 research project was cited and I’d like to provide some additional information from its 2015 study, “Solving the Equation.” That updated research found four main factors that still address underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and math.

1.      Combating stereotypes and biases — and these are culturally based. Implicit as well as explicit biases inform developing males and females.

2.      Emphasizing social relevance — incorporating communal aspects are needed to increase appeal for community oriented people

3.      Cultivating a sense of belonging — a sense of “being a scientist”

4.      Changing the environment — women have fewer resources for balancing work and non-work

5.      As stated in Ms. Steadman’s article, the number of women in STEM occupations has remained low from 1960-2013.

As Coloradans we can be proud that our schools (starting at the elementary level) provide opportunities for girls to pursue STEM courses and careers and there are so many community outreach programs; Girls in STEM, Girls and Science at DMNS, Girl Scouts Engineering Day, and various summer camps and workshops. Exposure, stimulating interest and encouraging activities build confidence particularly in girls.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been advocating gender equity for women and girls since 1881. There are two branches of AAUW in our community (Littleton-South Metro and Douglas County) and we both raise money to support local girls and women seeking STEM related courses and careers.

Thank you again for this informative article on a very important issue.

Jill Smith

Highlands Ranch

President, AAUW Littleton-South Metro Branch


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