Blog written by Harriet Wollerton, NATEP Programme Director 

Today, on International Women’s Day, I am really proud to say that my daughter is representing her school at a Faraday Challenge Day*. As well as my influence, her love of all things Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) began when she met the Rolls-Royce STEM Ambassadors at the Farnborough Airshow in 2016, when she was 7. As I watch my daughter’s growing confidence and passion in all things STEM, I think a lot about how we can get girls across the UK to be interested in it from an early age – and to stick with it into a career.

How to encourage our daughters into STEM:

Encourage her to enjoy STEM in School

Let it be known that you enjoy and are interested in STEM subjects and that you expect her to do well in them. Encourage her to participate in any after school STEM activities.

Getting your daughter interested in STEM during the early years of her time at school life will increase chances of her choosing to continue learning the subjects as she gets older.

Actively Expose Your Child to STEM

In addition to encouraging your child to learn about STEM in school, it is also essential that you expose her to STEM learning opportunities outside of the class. The exposure will help her see the future possibilities that STEM can offer and therefore increase the possibility of her ending up in one of the industries.

Annually, ADS runs UK ROC, the UK’s largest youth rocketry competition for young people aged 11-18 to design, build and launch a model rocket with a fragile payload. Rules governing the competition are altered each year to encourage innovative thinking amongst participants. UK ROC is a fantastic one-of-a-kind competition and gives participants the opportunity to develop the skills needed for high-value, high-wage and high-skilled career opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries.

Meet STEM role models

If you can, introduce your daughter to a professional in STEM at an early age. STEM ambassadors at events, such as the Farnborough Airshow, are inspiring role models. If this is not possible, there are plenty of books, videos and documentaries that feature STEM role models.

Invest in STEM Toys

The toys and games that give to our children are fun and help to mould their interest.

Any open-ended toy that touches on science, technology, engineering, & maths will do, triggering an interest in STEM as well as teaching analytical skills and critical thinking – both of which are vital in STEM careers.

The key to encouraging young girls in STEM is to get them interested in it early on, and then encourage and nurture her interest throughout her school life.

*Faraday Challenge Days. An annual competition of STEM activity days with a real-world challenge for pupils aged 12-13 years.