Girls in STEM fields, whether they are students, hobbyists, or professionals, have probably already noticed that they exist in a male-dominated world. At best, this is a dismal reality that we can overturn. At worst, young girls will be discouraged from pursuing hobbies and careers in STEM fields because it’s perceived to be “for boys.” Here at Make:, we know that that’s just not true.
Thankfully, there are plenty of makers who run workshops, organizations, and other programs that either specifically cater to young girls or are at least consciously designed with young girls in mind. I’m particularly excited to check out the Maker Faire exhibits that are geared towards girls. Of course I don’t want to imply that the rest of Maker Faire isn’t for young girls, but I think that it’s important to create environments where young girls feel confident stepping up, participating, and claiming their own space. So, without further ado, here are 7 exhibits that will encourage young girls!
Tech D.I.Y. for Moms & Kids
Jisun Lee and her daughter love to do electronic crafts together, so Lee started Tech D.I.Y. for Moms & Kids, a sewing circuit project that not only gives parents and children a chance to work together, but also aims to close the gender gap in the technology field. Lee will be exhibiting several project tutorials so that you and your family can make your own felt crafts and learn about electronic circuits.
Jesse Hemminger only worked with one female programmer during his 13 years in the industry. He created Glowie Monsters to make electronics more accessible. The Glowie Monster philosophy stems from the question “What are you telling your daughter with the toys you give her?” Hemminger wants to tell girls that they can do electronics. He will be selling the Glowie Monster sewable electronics kit as well as offering a Mini Glowie Monster workshop where you can choose your own felt and eye colors for a unique DIY toy.
Girls Make Games – The Hole Story
Girls Make Games is a series of international camps, workshops, and game jams designed to inspire girls to explore the world of technology and game development. They’ll be bringing some of the best games developed by their attendees, and they’ll be offering the chance for Maker Faire attendees to try their hand at game design and development. You’ll be able to complete some digital exercises in order to create a game and take a copy home with you.
TechGYRLS YWCA Silicon Valley
The TechGYRLS of YWCA Silicon Valley began in 2007 in order to empower girls, especially underrepresented girls, to explore and gain confidence with STEM, and to encourage them to pursue careers within STEM fields. They have offered after-school STEM programs exploring subjects like engineering and biology. More recently they have embraced the opportunities for engagement and immersive learning that the Maker movement has to offer. Last year they launched the TechGYRLS Maker Program, and they’ll be bringing more than 200 girls and 40 projects to Maker Faire Bay Area. The TechGYRLS will be demonstrating their projects, serving as role models for other young girls.
Graduate students at Cal State East Bay developed Project Daffodil, an electronic pop-up book geared toward young girls to teach them the basics of circuitry. Each spread of the book offers an interactive circuitry problem that the reader must solve. Maker Faire attendees will get the chance to sit down with some of the book’s spreads and try their hand at electronic problem solving, and even make their own little pop-up spread that lights up.
Invent-abling creator Deren Guler wanted to make low-tech toolkits for children, especially for young girls. Invent-abling offers toolsets that enable you to re-imagine your world using craft, smart materials, and electronics. Through explorative projects, they’ll be demonstrating basic concepts of invention, resourcefulness, and creativity, while working to break the gender barrier in STEM.