A Summary of Effective Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in Informal STEM Education Spaces

Posted by Journal of STEM Outreach on May 28, 2024

Women and girls, particularly women and girls of color, remain underrepresented in STEM disciplines. This underrepresentation begins as early as late elementary school age. Educators, particularly those in informal STEM education, can help address gender inequity in STEM by understanding how research can be translated into actionable strategies.

This article summarizes research on gender equitable practices for middle school girls in the last decade and addresses the disconnect between research and practice by presenting the findings in a way that educators can immediately act on. The research falls into six strategies that have demonstrated positive influences on gender inequity in STEM education: (1) connecting STEM experiences to girls’ lives; (2) supporting girls as they investigate questions and solve problems using STEM practices; (3) empowering girls to embrace struggle, overcome challenges, and increase self-confidence in STEM; (4) encouraging girls to identify and challenge STEM stereotypes; (5) emphasizing that STEM is collaborative, social, and community-oriented; (6) providing opportunities for girls to interact with and learn from diverse STEM role models. Our review highlights that each of these strategies are important to developing positive STEM identities in girls, particularly girls of color, which can help them to bridge the STEM gender and racial gap.

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