Week 16: Importance of Representation For Young Girls

From the TMC Team

Katherine Hughes and Kristina Hughes

Play like a girl. Girl’s don’t do math. We all know the stereotypes, and how Nike redefined, “Like a Girl,”

In generations past there was women’s and men’s work. The labels stuck and representation for women was rarely found in books, as heroines or STEM based careers and CEO positions.

I can remember in college my roommate was one of few females in a biomedical engineering program. During her primary years, she was often told, “girl’s can’t do math.” In college, the Big Ten University created a subprogram for her. She didn’t live by the motto, the words, “Girl’s can’t.”

In 2020 it’s refreshing how far we have come. Kids today can go to a library and open and be represented. Black girls can watch the news and see Kamala Harris, vp.

But even with more representation some of the stereotypes stick. That’s why it’s so important for girls and young women to have role models and opportunities to explore STEM careers.

A key way to build representation is through relationships. It can start with after school programs, career fairs and even bringing in women to speak to classes and form alliances with companies and women to enrich educational opportunities.

Another way to increase representation is to partner with the librarian, to create book clubs or share stories in classrooms with books that empower females. It’s key for them to read and see books that represent themselves

The art program can also create representation by highlighting female artists and creating projects where more females are represented.

In history classes we can also discuss recent campaigns and moments when the glass ceiling was close to being shattered.

The glass ceiling is still a reality. Hilary Rodham Clinton touched on this during her succession speech in 2016 when she shared, “Now, I know---I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And---and to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

In 2021, it’s time to crack that ceiling and encourage more representation by building relationships and fostering a can do mentality.

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