Many girls may be hesitant to use their knowledge to the best of their ability due to gender stereotypes in learning opportunities. Some may feel as if the male gender has the advantage with learning opportunities in and outside of the classroom, and that there is a higher competition with males in the learning environment, especially in science and technology.
In many cultures, the male is seen to be above the female, offered better educations, jobs, and health care. Although many have tried to break this stereotype, it often still does reveal itself in many different environments, including education. Unfortunately, many times men will have more opportunities than women to better their education and will be favored in these situations.
According to a survey done by Statistics Canada in 2011 only 39% of women between the ages of 25 to 34 held a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science) degree regardless of their mathematical abilities in high school. This study shows that girls may be more hesitant to pursue a career or education in the sciences over men.
To try and break these gender roles and stereotypes, organizations such as Inspiring Girls Expeditions is available to girls in the Pacific Northwest (YT, BC, WA, ID, OR), California, and Alaska. Inspiring Girls began in 1995 and helps give girls the opportunity to get to experience and travel to new places in the world, learning more about sciences while being free from these gender roles.
This organization is tuition free and is run by donations except for partial flight
costs. It offers wilderness science explorations of glaciers and the alpine or fjord landscapes, offering trips to Alaska, the Cascades, and Switzerland only available for females aged 16 and 17.
Each trip offered is 12 days long and brings nine teenage girls and three instructors that range from being professional glaciologists, ecologists, artists, and mountaineers to the trip destination. They then camp out and get to explore the landscapes, go on hikes, do science experiments, and learn about the scientific and ecological features of the area before returning home after two weeks.
“I think it is something good for girls interested in science. It is a good experience for groups of girls to make connections in an opportunity that would usually be for men,” said Riverside science teacher Ms. Bree Mireau. These trips can help to encourage girls to follow what they want to do in life and not feel like they are being held back from gender roles and competition. All while making connections with other girls and learning about sciences.