Is Brilliance a Male Trait?

That's what girls as young as 6 are led to believe, a new study notes. How can parents break this gender stereotype?

Article Excerpt

Marie Curie. Amelia Earhart. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These are just a few of the strong female role models that should inspire young women. But it seems these powerful figures aren't enough to combat gender stereotypes or a girl's feelings about her smarts.

In fact, young girls doubt their own brilliance, thinking…

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  • Get to the science museums and do experiments at home and talk about everything that is around you and how it works (nature, machines, inventions) everyday. Do research together! Learn together! Promote reasoning and critical thinking and wonderment. If you don’t have a “brilliant” job – you need to supplement that lack of an example with activities and involvement that show you’re hardworking, knowledgeable, independent and determined. Turn off the tv/movies with twit girl characters discussing nothing constructive. Start doing; start leading. There is no greater example to a girl than a determined same-sex parent. Teach her that no individual or institution can stop her from doing what she sets her mind to – but it often takes determination. I’ve witnessed that determination is often more important than “brilliance”. Arm her with confidence to “nail” school through her hard work so she realizes that if she wants to go into STEM one day, she can. STEM = independence and options. I earned by engineering degree 20 years ago with 20% fellow females; it has barely risen in 20 years at that university. Even less earned higher degrees and work in my field. It’s a sea of men. There’s no valid excuse. Women are failing themselves.


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