Has this been shared? National Careers Service "Your Daughter's Future"...

(71 Posts)
NattyGolfJerkin Thu 24-Mar-16 12:35:59

nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/resourceportal/Resourse%20Portal%20Doc%20Library/Your%20Daughters%20Future.pdf

My DD's school sent me a link to this. The above is a government "toolkit" hmm to assist with careers decision making for parents of daughters (apparently there isn't one for parents of sons or indeed a generic "parents of a child at this stage" version).

In some aspects there are positives in that it discusses myth busting the idea of girls/boys jobs, role modelling, sexism in the workplace and strategies in how to support your child and build self esteem.

However, some of the language is a bit hmm and most of the messages are just as valuable for parents of boys. Shouldn't they be getting the message that sexism in the workplace is unacceptable and encouraging boys into "feminine" careers too? Surely the message needs to be delivered to both groups for it to be effective?

Not to mention that the basic information re careers guidance and support is useful whatever the sex of your child. Am I alone in finding this a weird publication?

voluptuagoodshag Thu 24-Mar-16 12:46:22

Hmmmmmm! I can see what they are trying to do but IMO I think when they have gender specific leaflets they end up having the opposite effect. What would be wrong with a generic one and highlight the main issues to both sexes and explain why anyone can do anything!!!! And it's fecking pink!!!!

almondpudding Thu 24-Mar-16 12:51:01

I disagree. There are specific issues for girls and they are addressed to some extent in this publication. The lack of women in STEM subjects is a huge issue.

It didn't need to be pink.

NattyGolfJerkin Thu 24-Mar-16 13:10:22

If this is a convoluted "girls in STEM" publication then it could have been waaaay more concise.

almondpudding Thu 24-Mar-16 13:14:24

It is incredibly long winded.

I think girls going into STEM needs to be a major part of every careers/choices publication, not just those specifically about girls in STEM.

EBearhug Thu 24-Mar-16 23:06:53

If you're someone who's not considering going into STEM because you think it's not for girls for whatever reason, you're probably not going to pick up a leaflet about getting girls into STEM - but you might read the sections in this leaflet, which you'd be reading for more general information.

MyCrispBag Fri 25-Mar-16 16:14:10

I agree-ish NattyGolfJerkin. I think challenging barriers to boys getting into traditionally female jobs is just as important. While I absolutely agree that we need to address the women in STEM issue I can't see how it can work if we aren't doing it the other way too.

oliviaclottedcream Fri 25-Mar-16 17:49:40

The lack of women in STEM subjects is a huge issue.
But we can't force them in to it can we?

IMO there's a good reason why there are significantly fewer girls doing STEM and that's because it doesn't really appeal to them. I was a girl once and it didn't, me, or any of my girl friends.

EBearhug Fri 25-Mar-16 22:12:22

There will be some girls who don't do STEM because they don't like it. There will be some boys who don't do STEM because they don't like it. If that's the reason they are choosing not to do it, that's fine. If they're not choosing STEM because they really enjoy languages or literature or art or history, that's fine (though you can do all those as part of STEM, and there's a move to look at STEAM - including the arts, because we need creativity as a part of everything.)

But there are a lot of people who don't choose it because they don't know about the great range of job roles which STEM covers. They've been told rubbish like girls aren't as good at maths and science. If people like this don't know what they want to do, they should at least be told about all the possibilities that STEM involves, so they can think about it. If it's not even on their radar - well, they're not making an informed decision.

NotMyRealName2015 Fri 25-Mar-16 23:37:52

"I agree-ish NattyGolfJerkin. I think challenging barriers to boys getting into traditionally female jobs is just as important. While I absolutely agree that we need to address the women in STEM issue I can't see how it can work if we aren't doing it the other way too."

This is interesting and something I'd never thought of before.

I'm all for Women being encouraged into 'masculine' careers, but i have never heard of a push to get men into careers more associated with women.

As much as making STEM accessible for women is admirable, could this be considered another way of making women responsible for their own lack of opportunities, i.e. women choose not to go for male dominated careers, as opposed to the other way round?

/ Possibly overthinking/ hmm

almondpudding Sat 26-Mar-16 00:25:32

Why would getting more women into STEM require more men to go into traditionally feminine roles?

STEM is a huge growth area and there is a shortage of skilled people in various parts of it. It doesn't require a reduction in the number of men doing it to make room for women.

There are various excellent reasons why men should go into jobs like primary school teaching, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with giving girls career advice that allows them to understand the range of opportunities available and the consequences of making particular choices during their school years.

It is a pamphlet about making subject and career choices. Of course it is going to make you feel that the person picking the career has to have some responsibility. The point if the leaflet is for them to feel supported and informed when they take on that responsibility.

I may be getting the wrong end of the stick here, but it kind of feels like people are suggesting that the reason girls going into STEM is a good thing is because it masculine and boys going into caring jobs is feminine so good, because we are all then the same. That is really not the point at all. The point is that STEM will be so important in the future and girls need to be part of it, to participate in economic, cultural and social spheres fully.

DadWasHere Sat 26-Mar-16 12:31:50

But there are a lot of people who don't choose it because they don't know about the great range of job roles which STEM covers. They've been told rubbish like girls aren't as good at maths and science.

I dont think so. My daughter is doing Computer Science at University. I know exactly how popular STEM courses were for girls at her school, which was a HighIQ public school of a type only the top 20% of all students were given a chance to get into, and of which less than a third actually succeeded. Girls there did not choose STEM subjects, primarily because other girls did not want to do STEM subjects. My daughter swam against a tide of choice, not ignorance or derision.

oliviaclottedcream Sat 26-Mar-16 12:34:00

Who's been told rubbish like girls aren't as good at maths and science? An example would be good here.... When and where does this happen, at school, is that what you are suggesting? Not in any school I've ever worked in, I promise you. Girls are actually flourishing within schools and doing better than boys.

I don't understand what form a push to get men into careers more associated with women could realistically take. Are you suggesting forcing boys into these courses by employing some kind of quota system? What form could this extra appeal (to boys) take?

MatildaBeetham Sat 26-Mar-16 12:40:06

I was told that boys are just better at maths. When I asked my dd's teacher how we could support her to gain confidence in maths.

almondpudding Sat 26-Mar-16 13:56:11

Dadwashere, I think the leaflet in question is written in such a way to tackle exactly that kind of peer group issue.

Olivia,

I have two teenagers. They are frequently given the message by wider society that...
a. Girls are better at working hard and applying themselves.
b. Boys are better in highly competitive situations .
c. School unfairly advantages girls and masks the true ability of boys due to 'feminised' teaching and assessment methods.
d. Success in STEM fields (particularly Maths, Physics, Computing) in adult life relies not so much on applying yourself as on having some kind of savant masculine genius - like public perception of Einstein, Turing, Russell Crowe in A Beautiful MInd or Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory.
e. The vast majority of highly successful people in Maths, Physics and Computing are male.
f. At some point, hard work won't be enough, women will 'fail.'
g. Women representing STEM as mentors are more often within the biological sciences, or have used their Maths/Physics/Computing degrees to qualify to teach children or do the modern day equivalent of business admin.

There are some amazing women in STEM, but I doubt very many teenage girls are aware of them. That is not the face of women in STEM for many people.

almondpudding Sat 26-Mar-16 14:00:34

Plus the advice is biased.

When a girl says she is interested in how we learn and in the acquisition of language or early learning skills, the response is child care/primary teacher. It is rarely that those kind of interests are perfectly suited to a career in robotics and artificial intelligence.

oliviaclottedcream Sat 26-Mar-16 15:03:39

amazing women in STEM, but I doubt very many teenage girls are aware of them Why do you assume that? I reject the idea that girls/women are unaware that all area of career study are open to them. Secondary schools are desperately keen to get girls to take up STEM courses and at my DD's school here in West London, they've brought in women metallurgist, surveyors, a civil engineer, to talk about careers in their respective professions. Still the interest in STEM, by girls, remains stubbornly low. But the opposite is true for boys. Couldn't it be that there's a difference in what boys and girls find interesting?

almond did your teenagers provide that list for you, or is it made up of your own interpretations?

My interpretation (for what is's worth) of all this, is that there are differences between the sexes their preferences, their propensities, their goals and aspirations. I believe women/girls' interests and yearnings are distinct from men'/boys and that we shouldn't be viewing this lack of girls talking up STEM's is necessarily a problem. Give them the info', give them the choice and provide role models. But ultimately it's for them to follow what is in their hearts. Not for us to fear that they're making false choices based on some kind of social invention.

SueTrinder Sat 26-Mar-16 15:18:05

Secondary schools are desperately keen to get girls to take up STEM courses

But isn't it too late by that point, they've already had over 11 years of: everyone will comment on your appearance, all TV shows will have more males than females, the only scientists you see in popular culture are male with beards (Professor Squawkencluck being a notable exception), women work PT when they have kids, men work FT, the bulk of the scientists you learn about at school will be male (honorable exception for Marie Curie and possibly poor tragic spinster Rosalind Franklin), etc etc.

I'm a scientist, DD1 was told by a school friend in year 1 that she was lying when she said I was a scientist because women can't be scientists hmm. What can you do about that?

SueTrinder Sat 26-Mar-16 15:28:14

But ultimately it's for them to follow what is in their hearts. Not for us to fear that they're making false choices based on some kind of social invention.

So how do you explain the differences in women in science in different countries? Doesn't that point to a cultural influence? The stats can be seen here

almondpudding Sat 26-Mar-16 15:32:13

It's based on the experiences of my teenagers, my own experiences and research.

I agree with you that it may be that most girls are not interested in STEM because of differences between the sexes.

That may be the case or it may not.

But if it is the case, and the rate of girls going into STEM careers remains low, and they continue to follow arts/humanities heavy educational routes from 14 onwards, then women as a group will be left behind in economic, political, social and cultural spheres.

It used to be the case that most girls didn't study Physics and Chemistry post 14. Not a single girl at my secondary school did GCSE Physics. The government then made it compulsory for everyone to continue all three Sciences to 16. Without this, most girls could be ignorant about science. I suspect something similar will happen again. Computer science is now compulsory from primary onwards. That generation of girls will see it as normal. Perhaps we will see that extended up to university level first year, with people specialising into arts later.

But I really worry about the current group of girls. You can yearn for whatever you want, but the future is going to be heavily based in tech.

almondpudding Sat 26-Mar-16 16:07:55

Research showing that belief in innate aptitude is required predicts a gender gap:

www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=133857

'They derived a "field-specific ability beliefs hypothesis" and tested whether it could predict gender differences in academic disciplines. They based the hypothesis on prior research regarding stereotyping that shows children begin to believe people who share membership in an ethnic or gender group are similar to each other and are different from members of other groups.'

'Leslie and Cimpian found that only the field-specific ability beliefs hypothesis, unlike the three competitors, is able to predict gender differences across all of academia, as well as differences for other similarly underrepresented groups, such as African Americans.

"We found academic fields that emphasized the need for raw brilliance were more likely to endorse the claim that women are less well suited than men to be top scholars in the field," says Cimpian, "and further that such fields are less welcoming to women."'

oliviaclottedcream Sat 26-Mar-16 18:05:47

Sue The world is beyond my remit really, I'm talking about here in the UK. I'm very sad and miffed about what that girl said to your DD. I suspect its coming from the same place as my nephew telling his Mum that cooking is only for 'girls and poofs'. There is, I admit, so much to be done..

I really don't know the answer, but I'm guessing its because not enough women are naturally drawn to science and engineering. Some are of course and that's absolutely fantastic. The talk of 'attracting more women' to these fields, I find perplexing as I just cannot for the life of me, imagine what actual, physical mechanism could be used to do this. Quotas just don't work in my experience.

We mustn't forget, women are dominant in very fulfilling professions, and are way ahead in BA's / PhDs in humanities, biology, social sciences, health sciences. Women are interested generally in different things IMO and we shouldn't necessarily see this low take up in STEM as a terrible and worrying phenomena.

EBearhug Sun 27-Mar-16 00:14:28

not enough women are naturally drawn to science and engineering.

Because they're put off by it. In some countries, girls are encouraged to take jobs in IT, because it's clean work, unlike agriculture or cleaning, which are the other main opportunities open to them. It is a cultural issue, one which is a biggest issue in the UK, north-western Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand.

Making people aware of the range of careers is one of the main ways to attract people. There was a programme on the BBC last autumn - Girls Can Code - and most of the young women on the programme had just never considered any form of IT as a career. It wasn't that they'd thought about it and rejected it, but that it had never been something they'd considered at all as any sort of possibility. That's a big gap which needs to change, and I hope with the curriculum changes which came in about 18 months ago, we will see more of a change there, as it has longer to bed in.

There have been women involved in IT in particular (it's my field, it's why I know more about it) from the very start. You may have heard of Ada Lovelace, maybe Hedy Lamarr (the actress - also did important work including lodging a patent responsible for much of our wireless technology today.) What about Grace Hopper, the ENIAC girls, Jean Sammet, Stephanie Shirley, Radia Perlmann, Anita Borg, Wendy Hall, Karen Sparck-Jones, Margaret Hamilton, Adele Goldberg, the Estrins, Martine Kempf, Susan Landau, Shafi Goldwasser, Rozsa Peter...

Most branches of STEM will have lists of important women - just because they're not widely known about doesn't mean they weren't there.

noblegiraffe Sun 27-Mar-16 09:22:14

Women are interested generally in different things IMO and we shouldn't necessarily see this low take up in STEM as a terrible and worrying phenomena.

Women are interested in different things depending on the society which they live in, which suggests it's social conditioning not anything innately female. We should see this low take-up of STEM by girls as concerning while there is a huge STEM skills shortage in the country, and talented girls who could fill the gaps are taking English or History or whatever instead and then finding it much harder to find employment. We should also be concerned because STEM careers tend to be more highly paid on average, so girls who are conditioned out of STEM subjects are also lowering their average earnings potential.

almondpudding Sun 27-Mar-16 10:44:06

I find it difficult to understand why computer science is so different to biology that a person can be naturally inclined to one and not the other.

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