Women earn slightly more than 50% of all science and engineering bachelor’s degrees in the US and, yet, a significant gender gap persists in many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, and there is persistent inequality in the pathways to STEM advancement and leadership.
Women’s underrepresentation in STEM fields is rooted in persistent stereotypes and unconscious gender bias. These forces influence women at multiple junctures in their academic and career journeys. Early on, girls receive less early encouragement than boys to pursue STEM studies. Later, those women who persevere in STEM fields report feeling a lack of support and encouragement, particularly in terms of leadership opportunities.
The Seeds of Change Approach
Seeds of Change partners Stanford undergraduates in STEM disciplines with high school students interested in advancing the participation of girls and young women in STEM, and provides an integrated curriculum of mentoring, training, and skills development. The Seeds of Change curriculum is grounded in research about predictors of persistence and advancement and how gender inequality manifests in leadership development and opportunities. The program's goal is to encourage age- and stage-appropriate awareness, skills and resources that will support girls and young women as they navigate critical transitions in school and in their careers.
"We aim to provide girls and young women with a foundation of frameworks, knowledge, and skills so they will be prepared when they encounter gender bias. We want them to have the tools to recognize and address those situations and peer networks to draw on for support." -Sara Jordan-Bloch, Senior Research Scholar at the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and Seeds of Change Director and Founder.
How does Seeds of Change Work?
- Stanford University STEM undergraduate students participate in regular Seeds of Change Leader Training Courses throughout an academic year.
- Seeds of Change Leaders are paired together and work with groups of local high school students who are interested in STEM and advancing girls and women in STEM. Leaders guide them through a 9-module course covering topics such as mindset, negotiation, and mentorship.
- After participating in Seeds of Change, both university and high school students have learned and practiced leadership skills valuable to navigating and succeeding in STEM. Beyond this, they have established themselves in a network from which to gain support as they continue their STEM educations and careers.
To learn more about Seeds of Change contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.