Does Anyone Else Think Smart Girls are Getting Pressured to Study the STEM Fields?

Every year I get a letter from the “gifted-children corporation.” (It isn’t really called that, but you don’t get to know where I live.) They want me to come to more of their rather tedious summer programs. That, however is a camp story for later.

My point is that they only sent that letter to the people who standardized-test above 95%. And the summer programs are all about STEM. Mostly the T. And the M.

Every year I was in the gifted program I would get invited to “Girls STEM day.” And “Girls science exploration day” and “Girls-will-you-please-consider-having-a-career-in-STEM-so-we-can-get-paid-for-this day.”

But there was no “Girls creative writing day” or “Girls learn-to-paint-realistic-faces day.” It was all about STEM. They would began every STEM day by giving a speech about how there aren’t as many women in the STEM fields, and how they need to get more girls to study math, and then some overly-optimistic college student would come out and talk about how much she loves engineering. And she would always wear a ponytail. Every single time they would wear a ponytail.

At the end of the day they would give you forms to fill out. These forms asked you if you had changed your mind about you future career plan. I was always like, “What? You expect that after one day of showing me new technology to keep water clean I am going to completely change my career plan? Think again!

Once I even wrote that on the form.

After enough of these days you kind of get the feeling that someone is pressuring you into working in the STEM fields because you are a smart girl. Or you test well. With the modern public school system they are the same thing.

I have never been pressured in to anything. I was lucky enough to keep that trait from toddler-hood. Or maybe I became like that after the one disastrous jump off the high diving board. Never again!

I think these kinds of days are a great idea. They’re really fun, and it was all girls, and we got name tags. (I still have mine.) But why can’t we also have art/creative all-girls days, too?

New Subject

What is the expectation that all smart girls will go into STEM fields? Where did that come from? I don’t like it. Is it because it’s hard for girls to get into the STEM fields? Um, not really anymore. It’s harder for girls in politics, acting, and professional sports (I think, maybe not. But a list needs at least three things.)

So maybe I test really high. Why does it raise eyebrows that I have a 4.0 GPA (seriously, it’s not hard. It’s all participation) and care about my clothes and hair?

If they really want to stop gender discrimination they should visit the schools. Yeah. I said the schools. The schools are FULL of sexism. Textbooks, science history, the idiot teachers who say the’ll give extra credit if someone can answer a question about football, and always ask a girl because they don’t think she’ll know. The dress codes, the P.E. units, the height of the little signs that tell you room numbers.

And if we’re listing things that annoy us, why are so many essay contests for minority people? I mean, that’s great, but let’s be fair, where is the essay contest for semi-religious white girls?

So, what are your thoughts on my thoughts?



One thought on “Does Anyone Else Think Smart Girls are Getting Pressured to Study the STEM Fields?

  1. I think STEM is being pushed all over the country. Here in VT they’re discussing major education reform and STEM is in just about every sentence. Apparently, VT has quite a few new businesses popping up with no qualified Vermonters to fill them, so the solution is to push STEM, STEM, STEM. Worker bees?

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