Women’s History Month Issue of Reflections

Reflections Womens History Month

How Teachers Can Help Girls Lead

The  women’s leadership gap is well documented. Despite making up nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population, in 2014 women make up just 18.5 percent of Congress and 24.2 percent of state legislatures. They are only 14.6 percent of executive officers and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, and they hold just 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.

The gap exists in fields that have traditionally been male-dominated (for example, in information technology, women hold just 9 percent of management positions and 14 percent of senior management positions at Silicon Valley startups) as well as in those that have been traditionally female. Women account for 78.4 percent of the labor force in health care and social assistance, but just 14.6 percent of executive officers and 12.4 percent of board directors.

In education, they hold 75 percent of teaching positions but only 30 percent of educational leadership roles — a percentage that decreases the further you get from the classroom (a study of the superintendency shows that just 24.1 percent of superintendents were women — though that proportion is up from just 13.2 percent in 2000).    >>READ MORE

7 Most Important STEM Skills We Should Be Teaching Our Kids

Just what skills do students need today to succeed in the future? We asked 7 leaders in STEM education what they think classroom teachers should focus on to prepare kids for jobs we haven’t even conceived of yet.

Many of our interviewees cited a diverse range of skills, but we challenged them to name at least one key ability they believe will be more critical than the rest in order to succeed in future STEM fields.

We were surprised by the equal mix of “soft” and more traditional academic skills mentioned, from creativity to statistics. Read on for more of what our experts had to say:

1. Statistics
“If I were to choose one specific discipline for students to study, it would be statistics, a course that can be applied across all STEM fields. You don’t need higher levels of calculus or physics for all STEM careers, but you do need statistics. A deep understanding of statistics means understanding probability and error rates, concepts that cut across almost any type of problem you want to solve in STEM.”
– Gregg Fleisher, president, National Math and Science Initiative, Dallas, Texas 

5 Recommended Books for Women’s History Month

1. Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare
Here is an affirmative collection of essays by 26 young women, who share how they have overcome a variety of odds to achieve their most cherished dreams, from sports to academics.

2. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie).

3. Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earheart: The Story Of Amelia Earhart
Until the day her plane disappeared over the South Pacific in 1937, Amelia Earhart claimed one primary goal in her life, and that was the advancement of the achievements of women.

4. Cool Women
Throughout history, women have overcome fears and lived life to the fullest. Considered by the ALA to be one of the best books for young adults, this collection of over 50 short biographies and photographs inspires today’s young women to take risks and take action.

5. Heroine of the Titanic: The Real Unsinkable Molly Brown
Margaret (Molly) Brown is best known for her bravery and compassion during the tragic sinking of the Titanic, which catapulted her to international fame virtually overnight. But few people are aware that she was also an outspoken suffragist, a tireless champion of miners’ rights, and one of the first women to run for the U.S. Congress.

Exploring the World in Your Class

A collection of games that teachers can use in class to explore issues around immigrants and refugees.

In the past several years, the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) has supported and funded digital games, including  Mission US: City of Immigrants, a game about the immigrant experience. You play as Lena Brodsky, a Jewish immigrant in 1907 New York. It’s a great teaching tool: Students quickly realize how difficult it can be to assimilate to a new country. The game includes an  Educator Guide  with lesson plans and primary sources. >>READ MORE