Encouraging girls when they're young to explore STEM is key to getting more women involved in careers in science and math. As these are areas that girls were not traditionally encouraged to explore, the fields today are incredibly male-dominated. And while STEM as a whole needs more women and women of color in it, environmental science is one area in particular that needs as many talented individuals as possible. That's where Green Girls comes in.
In a Mashable feature devoted to the work of the program, Green Girls is a free program run by the City Parks Foundation in New York for sixth through eighth grade girls. The five-week course runs year-round and aims to, as the Green Girls website explains, "inspire young girls to excel as environmental scientists and stewards of New York City's precious natural resources." It's not just a learning program, but one that offers hands-on, solution-focused experience in preserving New York's natural resources. Over the summer, girls learn about and work to conserve urban forests, and during the school year, the program focuses on drinking water.
The program is run by women working in the field to help the girls see women who look like them excelling in their field. This representation is so important for young girls, especially girls of color, and can help participants in the Green Girls program feel like there is a place for them in STEM.
Green Girls encourages girls to be curious and to problem-solve, but also to encourage and support one another. STEM is an incredibly hard field, and it can seem like an uphill battle for a girl or young woman interested in pursuing that area of study. Failure can quite often completely derail any STEM aspirations in the face of a society that seems to tell girls science and math is only for boys. Green Girls, however, uses failure as learning opportunities. Not only do the Green Girls staff help girls learn and push through something that hasn't quite worked, but the fellow participants are taught to support and encourage their fellow Green Girls.
There is much more to learn about Green Girls over at Mashable, and we encourage you to check out their in-depth look at the program, which is a fantastic way to not only encourage young girls to explore a field that has for so long felt like unwelcome territory, but also to help cultivate that feeling of sisterhood and building up other women so that we all can succeed.
What are some programs for girls in STEM in your area that you love? Let's talk about it in the comments!
Feature Image: City Parks Foundation