New Programs Encourage Girls to Pursue STEM

Last month, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World ­Ultimate Mentor Adventure announced the 10 winners of its program to give girls in grades 9-12 an opportunity to explore STEM careers.

From the news release:

Through the collaborative efforts of Marvel, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), Dolby Laboratories, National Academy of Science, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Discovery Science Center, girls had the chance to go out into the real world and ask successful women in STEM fields about what they do, how they got where they are, and how others can follow in their footsteps. The process was designed to help students to understand who they are, and why learning from mentors can impact their futures.

Young Girls ComputerTo enter, the girls were required to visit mentors in their local areas for an interview. After finding out what kind of work the mentors did, they were encouraged to learn how they could follow a similar path to success. Marvel provided a list of pre-approved mentors across the U.S. along with a helpful list of careers in STEM.

Marvel’s contest was just one of a growing list of efforts to encourage girls to consider STEM careers. They’re based on the notion that education, excitement, hands-on activities and the presence of positive female role models are key to changing the ratio of women to men in the tech industry.

Below are a handful of new resources for supporting and encouraging girls to participate in STEM learning around the world.

Girls Inc, Operation SMART

Operation SMART develops enthusiasm and skills through hands-on activities and the opportunity for girls to explore, ask questions and solve problems.


GirlStart offers hands-on after school activities and summer day camps. Saturday workshops give parents an opportunity to participate in learning activities.

PBS SciGirls Tips for Encouraging Girls in STEM

SciGirls is a PBS television show that’s meant to inspire girls by watching a group of middle schoolers learn or complete a problem-solving challenge. Each episode features a new group of girls and a different set of problems to be solved or questions to be answered.

Intel Empowering Girls and Women through Education and Technology

This international program is dedicated to educating girls in developing nations to help them gain skills and build self-confidence. Its vision is to raise socioeconomic standards, improve the future of education in their countries and help equip participants to be future leaders.

Google Global Impact Awards

Google awarded $1.2 million to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender Bias in the Media for software that helped analyze gender portrayals on-screen and uncovered startling facts about gender inequality in film. The institute found men outnumber women 5 to 1 in the portrayal of STEM professionals in family films. The institute’s work is changing how girls and women are portrayed on screen according to its most recent impact study.