The STEM fields are for girls too!

Ever heard of the Stemettes? This British organization is breaking down stereotypes and showing young girls and women (and, well, everyone) what a career in the STEM fields is really about. The Stemettes aims to inspire young girls through innovative and interactive events, and put them in contact with outstanding women in the STEM fields. Anne-Marie, the founder and Head Stemette of this dynamic organization, tells us more.

DiscovHER : What is the organization Stemettes all about? And how would you define a Stemette?

Stemettes: At the Stemettes, we are working to inspire the next generation of girls into Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) via a series of events, workshops and opportunities which centre on girls meeting women already in STEM. We've seen that by meeting these women, attending events run by them, and finding out what makes them tick, girls can begin to imagine themselves one day being in their shoes. We're also about fun and food - it wouldn't be a Stemettes event without both of those elements!

DiscovHER: In your opinion, why is there such a low percentage of women in the STEM fields?

Stemettes: It's about the perceptions that women and girls have, about working in STEM, being women in STEM and how they can have a full life whilst also having a great and rewarding career. It's not immediately apparent and even for women who do go into STEM, all of that can sometimes be outweighed by fatigue or negative experiences they have in their STEM career.

There are key points in one's life and career at which decisions can be made to stay in STEM or leave - it appears that girls and women make the latter choice rather than the first, despite performing as well as boys (if not better), being able to exercise their creativity and also being paid well. For some, a lack of awareness of opportunities means they make that choice. For others, poorly chosen words from those around them mean they make that choice, or bad advice stops them from achieving their potential and reaching their true calling in STEM.

DiscovHER: How are the Stemettes going about changing the perception of women in STEM and raising awareness of this issue?

Stemettes: We're working directly with girls and their influencers to show the great diversity of women performing a diverse set of STEM roles. At our events and workshops, girls get to interact with these women as human beings - understanding their favourite food, the languages they speak, and what they had for breakfast, alongside the ins and outs of their job, and their career journeys. We also run a number of social channels and are regularly featured in the press - spreading the word of what we do, how we do it, and how to come and give STEM a try. Most importantly, the majority of what we do is based at real companies in industry - which girls rarely get to see up close. They can experience a day in the life and lift the lid on the 'mystery of working in STEM', and also check out the toilets in the building...

DiscovHER: What do you think is important for women and young girls to know about the STEM fields?

Stemettes: It's important for everyone (including women and young girls) to know that STEM is all about being creative, solving problems and ultimately, it is an altruistic field to be in. Our innovation changes lives and in some instances saves lives. We're doing incredibly fun, open, interesting stuff which is changing the course of history - in front of our eyes. We're alive while it's happening and we should totally be a part of it all. Also, being a woman, with a slightly different perspective on things, means that we, as a race, need you to be involved and influence our future - we're counting on you to become Stemettes!

DiscovHER: Can you tell us about some inspiring women/associations we should be following?

Stemettes: In addition to following us (!) you should absolutely follow the Berlin Geekettes, Geek Gurl Diaries, Women in Technology, IET Women's Network, CAS include, Evecracker, and ScienceGrrl

For Women in Science

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