Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

December 19, 2013

Parents should not toy around with kids' careers

It shouldn’t happen, but it does. Sometime during their middle school years, many female students who excel in math and science turn away from those areas of study for other interests.

One reason for that lost interest in vital subjects may be the way the girls’ families are raising them and because society as a whole pigeon-holes males and females. This directional influence coming from society is evident on store shelves, especially during the Christmas shopping season, according to Purdue University professors.

IN AN ASSOCIATED PRESS article published Wednesday, Purdue professors point out there are the boys toys aisles that have toys that are used to build things, such as Legos, and the girls’ toy aisles, where Barbies and other “pink” toys are displayed. Plied with toys targeting fashion, child care and beauty concerns, we can see how young girls are influenced each holiday season to forgo serious intellectual pursuits.

The solution to this situation is to allow young females to engage in creative play with toys that stimulate learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It may seem strange that childhood play can influence career decisions down the road, but consider this, just 24 percent of the workers in the STEM fields are female, according to The Associated Press.

The STEM field offers high-paying jobs and satisfying careers, two things many females in high school would like to obtain during their lifetimes. Yet, those career options don’t attract enough females.

PARENTS PLAY THE MOST important role in influencing children and their education, so we urge parents to consider their holiday gift purchases and see if those purchases reflect the math and science talents of their female children. If they don’t, there’s still time to add gifts that will stimulate creative thinking and inquiry.

Those gifts can then be followed up with daily support and encouragement to make sure young females know its OK to be good at algebra and that it’s a gift to be able to understand chemistry equations.

Our nation needs more college graduates in the science fields and the easiest and best way to obtain them is to urge more females to consider those career paths.

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