Mind the STEM Gap at Home

9 points for a fairer, more inclusive upbringing.

For greater immediacy, we have transposed the principles set out in the Manifesto for Girls [and Boys] into a version for families and a version for schools. The version for families is for mothers, fathers, relatives and friends.

It addresses everyone who is part of the educational community in which boys and girls live, everyone who influences their lives in some way. It highlights 9 key points through which we can all help overcome the limits of a conventional upbringing.

Be aware of words.

Phrases like “Don’t be a sissy” or “This is a man's job” have toxic connotations, which solidify and strengthen stereotypes. We should avoid these phrases and talk about them if they do emerge: words give form to thoughts.

Be aware of cultural stereotypes.

Stereotypes are insidious and powerful: they condition our worldview. So they should be highlighted, analysed and discarded.

At home, avoid behavioural roles and models based on gender stereotypes.

Housework is not a natural female vocation. When everyone is involved in day-to-day tasks, this frees up energy and conveys competence.

There are no men's jobs and women's jobs.

Let's adopt a gender-neutral pedagogic approach, where roles and responsibilities are assigned on the basis of personality rather than gender.

Help girls test their abilities with confidence.

Let's leave girls free to explore all fields, including those traditionally reserved for boys. This will help eliminate a disparity, since girls tend to consider themselves less skilled than boys in maths and science.

Games help us learn about ourselves.

This is why it's important that girls have access to science-related games still viewed as typical boys’ games, such as building sets, logic blocks or others.

Science and maths can be as fascinating as drawing or music.

Let’s offer our sons and daughters the chance to explore all branches of knowledge and tell them “science stories” with female protagonists.

Stimulate curiosity through experience.

Even just changing a light bulb with a parent can open up interesting new worlds for boys and girls.

Challenge and discussion.

Overcoming stereotypes is a difficult challenge. To win it, we need an educating community where the various people involved in children's education and upbringing are in constant contact with one another.

The Mind the STEM Gap Manifesto was established in 2021 to:

  • Overcome gender disparity in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

  • Increase awareness of women's contributions to scientific disciplines

  • Promote more inclusive education for girls, free of stereotypes and prejudices

  • Support the community of educators, at home and at school.

Mind the STEM Gap is a Fondazione Bracco project.