[EDEQUITY Science Dialogue] Closing Statement

From: Mary.Thompson, (mthompson@alphaci.com)
Date: Mon Nov 20 2000 - 16:31:28 EST

I'm preparing a presentation for teachers and parents on "Encouraging girls
to stay in their Math and Science Classes." I thought to update my handouts
and other materials beginning with the first AAUW poll materials
"Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America." My sources are the the
traditional ones: anything by AAUW, anything by David and Myra Sadker,
anything by Jo Sanders or Patricia Campbell, and all the materials
by the WEEA Equity Resource Center.

As I searched on-line I discovered that what I have been using for the past
ten years is still relevant. "Gender, Discourse, and technology," Center
Equity and Diversity, Working Page 5 by Katherine Hanson is one of my
favorite resources.

When writing for a grant to complete the facilitation manual for "The
And Daughter Science Club" we cited three existing needs that this program
addressed: 1) Girls need higher math, science, and technology skills; 2)
Girls need assurance from their families that they can succeed in math and
science; and 3) Mothers often need to overcome their own math and science
anxieties in order to provide confident support to their daughters.

You can download these citations by selecting the 14 page Introduction at

The reason I am referencing this program is because it deals with helping a
mother or another significant adult female become an advocate for keeping a
4th or 5th grade girl in her math and science classes. Sharing hands-on
science experiences, learning about women scientists throughout history,
being introduced to gender-related issues appears to reinforce positive
attitudes in both the girls and their mothers about math and science.

Surprising to me was the effect these sessions had on the women. I know of
at least two who were in my field testing groups who went back to school to
take science classes. The mothers remember how much fun science was in
early years in school. When they start reflecting on the reasons they lost
interest it helps them to prepare for similar attitude changes in their
daughters. The programs we do with girls are great, but the moms are
around for the "long haul." By the time the six science sessions are over
the mothers have lots of hand-outs that they can use with teachers and
others to make the point that their daughters had better continue enjoying
math and science.

Now, back to resources. Just because I am using materials researched and
published years ago doesn't mean that anyone else has seen them or that
won't make just as big of an impression today as in the early 90s. Those of
us who are advocating for women and girls in math and science already have
at our fingertips (and with a few keystrokes if we are lucky) excellent
resource material that has stood the test of time and will -- sadly --
to be used for many more years because I don't see any of us giving up on
this vitally important issue.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for
permitting me to participate.

Mary Thompson
Email: <mthompson@alphaci.com>
Web page: <http://www.alphaci.com>

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