What helps Restore Gender Balance?

Try It, You'll Like It

It can make some folks a little uncomfortable to consciously recruit girls for computer or robotics activities, but did you know that teachers unconsciously are more encouraging to boys?  And do you know how much it matters?

Creative is Inclusive

When shown the above photos, twice as many girls would prefer to build the creative robot, and twice as many boys would prefer to build the bare-metal robot.  Yet, after actually building the creative robots, both boys and girls report equally high enjoyment, according to Dartmouth research.  Read more about how creative projects are inclusive.

Exhibition instead of Competition

Robotics programs that culminate in an exhibition rather than a competition motivate a wider range of students, according to professors from MIT and Wellesley.

Fast Facts

For a quick overview, see these Fast Facts.

Friends Like Me

Once a woman walks into a computer science or engineering class, will she stay? One key to retention is a sense of belonging. And one key to a sense of belonging is the presence of at least a certain percentage of women students. What is that critical mass?

How These Findings Shape Our Projects

In alignment with the findings shown on this page, all Gizmo Garden projects:

  • Incorporate creative expression
  • Are non-competitive
  • Provide 1:1 equipment
  • Break stereotypes visually
  • Include roughly 50/50 girls/boys

Decor Makes a Difference

Simple changes to this classroom's décor can make girls three times more likely to sign up for a computer science class in it.  What changes would you make?

My Turn

Girls enjoy robot building just as much as boys, but in mixed-gender teams, they don't get as much hands-on time.   See what Dartmouth researchers learned.

Fresh Starts

Choose equipment that carries the least gender baggage and minimizes the intimidation of new students.  Read how Carnegie Mellon faculty say prior experience is not predictive of computer science success.

Career Connection

Particularly as they get to high school, students are thinking about how they can do good in the world while earning a living.  This video from UMaine highlights some of great work going on in engineering there.  Click the green button below for videos from Maine employers of computer coders, data analysts, and electrical engineers.