Invent Now

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At the 2008 Women’s Conference in California Dr. Condoleezza Rice stated, “We’re not doing a good enough job of preparing girls for science and technology professions.”

Myself, I wondered – Why are we the only parents who signed our daughter up for Science Camp?

The first day of science camp some of the boys made remarks about girls and their ability to do science. By the end, Ainsley had dispelled any negative assumptions about girls and their scientific brains.

Forty years ago women made up just 3 percent of science and engineering jobs; now they make up about 20 percent. That sounds promising, until you consider that women earn 56 percent of the degrees in those fields. A recent Center for Work-Life Policy study found that 52 percent of women leave those jobs, with 63 percent saying they experienced workplace harassment and more than half believing they needed to “act like a man” in order to succeed. In the past, women dealt with that reality in two ways: some buried their femininity, while others simply gave up their techie interests to appear more feminine, state a Newsweek article, Revenge of the Nerdette, this year.

I get some solicitations from Interactive Webgames designed for girls.

Here’s the disappointing thing – their primary focus is on getting dressed, extra-curricular activities include going shopping and home decorating.

Getting dressed should take up maybe 20 minutes of a person’s day. Unless you’re actually a fashion designer or aim to become one, it really shouldn’t make up the focus of your life.

Computer literacy is now a fundamental and necessary skill and girls should be encouraged to use computer time in a more productive imaginative way.

The computer games our girls should spend their time on should have a have a broader mission. Cure cancer, invent a new kind of engine, build a new building, heal the world’s psyche, teach and learn.

For this reason I was happy to stumble on a website for children and a contest at InventNow.org. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has developed a game for children – both girls and boys – to introduce them to the process from inspiration to invention.

As parents of girls – we need to really encourage girls to make the fields of science and technology their own.

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