Imagine Loki smugly trying to show off his intelligence by offering to help you with the homework you’re stuck on, but then failing miserably and embarrassingly when he doesn’t understand the math at all.
“Don’t ask me; I’m just a girl.” It’s one of the most famous lines from The Simpsons.
Lisa Simpson, an eight-year-old girl, is excited to get a talking
version of her favorite Barbie-like doll but horrified at the words that
come from her doll’s mouth. It’s a joke, social commentary and it
speaks to a very large issue.
According to an infographic recently produced by Verizon,
at the age of eight, 66 percent of girls say they like math yet, in
college, only 18 percent of women study engineering. The problem starts
early, girls begin to lose confidence in their technical abilities at a young age.
Seventy-two percent of girls feel they’re good at science and math
classes in middle school while only 55 percent of girl feel that way in
The National Girls Collaborative Project
reported that girls were more likely to have taken biology — a life
science frequently viewed as “accessible” — in high school than boys (50
percent vs. 39). Whereas “hard” subjects, such as physics and
engineering, were dominated by males. In college, according to the NGCP,
in 2011, 57.3 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. were
obtained by women. In the sciences, women received over 50 percent of
the degrees in biology. Yet, they held less than 20 percent of those
awarded in the fields of physics, computing or engineering.
By adulthood, while they compose half the population and half the workforce, only a quarter of STEM positions are held by women. Not only is this a problem — it’s a worsening one.