Science: it’s a people thing: a discussion workshop for girls

The workshop was piloted at the Big Bang Science Fair in London in March 2013. The girls discussed myths and facts about girls and women in STEM careers, and came up with ideas on how to make a lasting difference.

Girls who came to the sessions told us that they appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues with other girls. This was especially important for those who came from co-educational schools.

“There are a lot of options and opportunities in the science field. It does not only revolve around medicine, etc.” (participant aged 16)

“I will tell my friends and family about the facts that I have learned and hopefully inspire others as I have been inspired today.” (participant aged 13)

The Institute of Physics has worked in partnership with WISE and Intel to create this workshop, designed to inspire girls about the STEM subjects where they are under-represented, such as physics and computer science. It shows them how these subjects connect with issues that girls care about and their importance as a gateway into a wide range of interesting jobs and careers.

The workshop uses role models to facilitate small group discussion and explore gender stereotyping in a comfortable and safe environment.

The session is suitable for girls aged 13–16, but could be easily adapted for use with a younger age group aged 11–12.

The resources include all that is needed to run a session of either 60–90 minutes, or a longer half-day event. The pack is for teachers, as well as ambassadors and role models going into schools. It includes advice on how to find role models and brief them as well as editable Powerpoint slides to use in the workshop.

There is also a call-to-action z-card for students to take away from the event, which can be ordered in bulk from IOP - email education@iop.org for these.