This video says it all. Citing a sad statistic by the National Science Foundation: 66 percent of 4th grade girls say they like science and math, but only 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female.
Both boys and girls are dissuaded from science and math in different ways. With boys, parents, especially fathers, and peers push the boys towards sports by manipulating boys natural competitiveness and throwing in the societal mantra “science is for geeks”.
With girls it is far more insidious. Many science and math teachers are biased towards boys and some are downright dismissive of girls in science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) studies. Just as damaging are the “who’s my pretty girl?” parents as shown in Verizon’s “Inspire her Mind” commercial.
Encourage your children, particularly your daughters, to explore their world. If her dress gets dirty… oh well, it can be washed. If she wants to build a rocket, help her.