Compared with their peers nationwide, fewer girls in Illinois state high schools study subjects associated with careers in science, technology, engineering and math, according to research from the University of Illinois. An article at EurekaAlert notes lower participation by Illinois girls in all career cluster areas associated with STEM fields, including finance, information technology and agriculture, food and natural resources. It’s in the science, technology, engineering and match cluster where the greatest disparity is evidenced, however. Females represent just 15 % of enrollments in these courses at Illinois schools compared with about 31% of enrollments nationwide, according to the article.
Researchers suggest Illinois policymakers provide financial incentives for schools to step up STEM education and programming. They also recommend a review and audit of school curricula, teaching methods and materials to eliminate potential gender biases, and partnerships with local businesses and community colleges to offer mentoring, job shadowing and summer camps to promote interest in STEM careers