The Steminist Movement Empowers Girls in STEM, Tackling Gender Disparities

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The Steminist Movement is a non-profit organization founded by Anabella Maria Galang in 2018 to tackle the gender disparities in STEM fields. Galang, a young woman studying medicine, was troubled by the fact that only around 27 percent of STEM professions are filled by women. With a desire to empower girls in STEM, she started the movement in her hometown of Southwest Florida by hosting STEM activities for middle school girls in local public libraries. Since then, The Steminist Movement has grown into a Cornell chapter that creates programming to foster interest in STEM among girls.

Galang’s interest in science and medicine began at a young age, inspired by the proximity of retirement communities and memory homes in her hometown. She saw the potential of science and medicine as interventions for those dealing with chronic illnesses. In high school, she studied the reasons behind the greater gender disparity in some STEM fields compared to others. This drove her to seek out solutions to empower girls in STEM.

Studying biological sciences with a focus on genetics and genomic development at Cornell, Galang realized the importance of empowering women and girls in these fields. She wanted to create a diverse range of STEM topics and make them accessible to middle school girls, as studies show that the gender gap starts to originate during this time. The Steminist Movement hosts workshops on various STEM topics, such as coding and regenerative medicine, as well as speaker events.

The organization recruits teaching fellows, college and high school students trained in teaching STEM, who create hands-on activities and lead discussions to engage middle school girls. The goal is not only to introduce girls to STEM topics but also to provide a safe space for expression and representation in all STEM fields. Seeing women succeed in these fields can empower young girls to envision themselves in scientific or engineering careers.

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While progress has been made to balance gender gaps in STEM, Galang highlights that the gender gap is changing form. It is not just about welcoming women into STEM but also supporting them once they are there, so they can reach leadership roles capable of making policy changes. The Steminist Movement continues to evolve and expand, with chapters now established at other universities like Northeastern University.

To target girls who may not be aware of their interest in STEM, the organization is creating STEM kits to distribute to local libraries. These kits include activities that span various STEM fields, aiming to engage a larger audience and show the impact of these fields in solving real-world problems. The need for a representative workforce in STEM has become even more crucial with the advancement of technology, as biases and harmful patterns can be exacerbated in an echo chamber. A diverse workforce is essential for addressing these challenges.

The Steminist Movement at Cornell recently led middle schoolers on tours of the Cornell Botanic Gardens and the Fuertes Observatory to discuss sustainability, agriculture, and astronomy. In the future, they plan to organize an in-person science fair where middle schoolers can showcase their STEM projects. The organization’s focus remains on providing hands-on experiences and relevant programming to empower girls in STEM and bridge the gender gap.

Overall, The Steminist Movement is making significant strides in empowering girls in STEM fields. By creating inclusive programming, providing representation, and highlighting the impact of STEM fields, they are inspiring the next generation of women in STEM and working towards a more balanced and diverse workforce.

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