Thursday, July 12, 2018

We need to start being honest with girls about science

"My daughter has a question for you," the video began. An adorable 3 year old girl asks breathlessly, "Why does the Sun stay still?" I had to message my friend separately to find out what exactly her daughter meant. She told me that in school her daughter learned that the Sun sits still and the planets move around it. Her daughter wasn't having it. She was very concerned. Everything else in the world moves, so why wouldn't the Sun? I quickly told my friend that her daughter was absolutely right to be concerned because the Sun does not sit still. Just like the planets orbit our Sun, the Sun orbits the center of our galaxy along with billions of other stars. I also told her how much her daughter kicks ass for questioning what she was told and using her everyday experiences to come up with really amazing questions. It's what scientists do.

Science has a girl problem right? We leave our fields of study in droves at every level after middle school. There are tons of after school and summer programs aimed at getting young girls interested in science. Those programs work. You'll find girls just as interested in science at the elementary and middle school levels as boys. As my 3-year old buddy shows, gender has no impact on a child's ability to do science. So why should it be any different as those kids grow up?