On International Women’s Day — and every day — we celebrate maker girls: girls who code, program robots, design 3D-printed jewelry, construct with wood…
Because at KID Museum, we know that what they gain when they make something goes way beyond learning to use power tools and new technologies. It’s about conquering fear, embracing failure, and realizing that they are capable — even more than capable: powerful.
When kids learn by making, they become confident, engaged learners who know how to think critically and tackle challenges — the same skills cited by Google and others as essential to success in the workforce.
But too many of our girls are not given the opportunity to gain these essential skills. And it shows: women currently hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs (which are faster growing and higher paying than other fields) in the U.S.. A recent report by Intel found that maker activities, like those we provide at KID Museum, may be the key to closing this gender gap. Girls who make show increased interest and engagement in STEM, along with higher social emotional skills.
KID Museum’s partnerships with Montgomery County Public Schools and local independent schools help to ensure that we are reaching more girls from all backgrounds, as well as others traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. Strong partnerships like these provide what schools often cannot — hands-on, project-based learning that ignites an interest in STEM and prepares girls, and all youth, for the 21st century economy.
The Equality of Opportunity Project found that children are more likely to become inventors if they are exposed to innovators or innovations. The study identifies a swath of our population — girls, minorities, and children from low-income families — called the “lost Einsteins,” those who were never exposed to innovation because they lacked opportunities. They rightly identify this as a loss for not only those children, but for our society as a whole, as we will never benefit from their potential life-changing innovations.
All girls deserve to be “maker girls.” All girls deserve the chance to make our future.
[All “maker girl” portraits by photographer Bruna Genovese.]