Girls and STEM: 3 Reasons We Are Going About This the Wrong Way

This year, everyone’s talking about STEM.  Specifically how we can get our girls thinking about  science,technology ,engineering and mathematics. And it’s worth talking about. No doubt there are plenty of jobs out there for computer programmers in the global economy – and not many women are currently taking them. This government report shows that women, although 50% of the workforce, make up less than 25% of STEM-related jobs.

But here’s my problem: While there are great products and services coming out of the STEM-for-girls revolution – like GoldieBlox, a building toy meant to inspire girls’ interest and confidence in engineering — many gender-equality advocates are failing to make any real difference because they are trying to fix girls rather than support them. Also, I can’t help but think that by marginalizing the arts, we are also marginalizing women’s culture – and their labor.

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Honoring Brave Girls on MLK Day

rfk_ruby_bridges_480_01Today, as our country takes a break to honor the contribution of MLK, I am grateful for his legacy at the same time I am wanting more.  We know he didn’t achieve what he did by himself.  Who else are we forgetting?  Who were all of the hundreds, even thousands, of people who dared to take action who were influenced by him?  Who influenced him?  Who is telling the story of interdependence that allowed MLK to arise as the most important leader of our time?

Somewhere deep in the answers to these questions lie the stories of women and girls.

I wrote the following post for the Glitter & Razz blog:

Today we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We also are in a full year celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. The 1963 has been called “the year the world work up” and, in the last 50 years, many heroes have emerged from regular everyday folks. Folks who dared to do things differently than other people around them. Folks who dared to choose love over hate. Folks who dared to believe they could make a difference.
And many of these folks have been girls. READ the POST>>>

Why We Should Prepare to be Dangerous

This is a big week for me as a teaching artist and girl advocate.  Not only has our Go Girsl! Camp registration opened for the summer, tomorrow, I will be giving an 18-minute TED like talk at the How Kids Learn Conference in San Francisco about my work.  The event is sold out but, don’t worry, it will be filmed and I will share it here.  My talk shares my views on:

  • Why I feel we so desperately need a compassion revolution;
  • Why I feel like we must support the leadership of girls and women to lead us in the compassion revolution; and
  • Why theater is the greatest medium for helping all of us learn and practice the skills of compassion
From my powerpoint presentation

From my powerpoint presentation

This is a big deal for me.  I want to make it clear that I am talking about something more than giving girls the opportunity to improve their self-esteem by being in some “cute plays.”  It’s bigger than that.  These are girls are engaging in a process of deciding who they want to be and co-creating the world they world they want to live in.  I really do believe these plays that Go Girls! make can change the world.

I’m just afraid that no one else believes it.  I’m afraid it’s more than we are prepared to believe.

Also this week, on Saturday in Berkeley, I will facilitate the first full membership meeting for Teaching Artists Organized (TAO).  As the Membership Committee chair of TAO, I am really pumped about about making 2013 the Year of the Teaching Artist.  I believe so strongly (and have written about this before), that, in the wake of violence and disconnection and abuse and neglect, it is time for teaching artists to rise to leadership in bringing us all back to peace.  This compassion revolution that I speak of depends on the skills of the teaching artist.  Again, sharing this on Saturday is a big deal for me.  I want to make it clear that I am talking about something more than giving kids the opportunity to get the arts education that has been so savagely eradicated from our schools.  It’s

From my powerpoint presentation

From my powerpoint presentation

bigger than that.  Teaching artists have the power to help kids and adults, in various community settings, imagine new possibilities for how we can all BE together.  By strengthening the collective imagination and giving everyday folks the tools and skills to make and do and create, we threaten the whole status quo.  As my friend, Big Rich, said to me yesterday:

“The game is in danger.  Being able to be creative and proactive is dangerous to these people.”

I’m afraid that my fellow teaching artists aren’t prepared to be dangerous.  I hope we are.  I hope I am.