New research from Third Space Learning may help explain why young girls who enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and math as early as kindergarten lose interest by the time they turn 12.
This has nothing to do with ability or intelligence, research shows. Instead, lower confidence and fewer female role models mean many will not pursue careers within STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
ABC15 talked with Diane Graham, Chairman & CEO of Scottsdale-based STRATCO, INC.
"From middle school on, it was really hard for girls to focus on sciences, the math, because of the...titles. Let's face it, you know, we're the nerds."
Graham is among few female voices in a male-dominated industry. She hopes to inspire change by motivating young women to pursue interests long-term in STEM-related industries. She also hopes to help girls ignore negative stereotypes.
"Like they say now, be nice to those people, because, in 15 years, you're probably going to call them 'boss,'" she said, laughing.
Graham says parental involvement can be a major game-changer too as long as you find fun ways to create things together.
"The more opportunities that you give children if they're all sitting here with scientists, it's so much easier for them to feel comfortable."
She also shared the benefits of having men and women on her team, saying gender differences can lead to unique, creative, and innovative ideas.