Girls can explore becoming Women in STEM – register for free ASAP

by beth on February 22, 2017

Post image for Girls can explore becoming Women in STEM – register for free ASAP

Above: Middle school girls are being encouraged to explore a world of STEM based careers including, surgeon, chemist, scientist, and architect (Images from photos posted to flickr left to right by Zdenko Zivkovic [cropped], zhouxuan12345678U.S. Army RDECOM, and Will Scullin)

If you are looking to encourage your 5th – 8th grade daughter(s) to explore a future in science or math, take note.

The Northboro Junior Woman’s Club is again holding a STEM conference for girls Saturday, March 25 from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm.

The conference will be made up of an opening presentation, interactive workshops and informal discussions over a luncheon. To encourage interest and success in the science fields:

The presenters will explain what they do in their occupation, share different tips on courses of study & ways to train for their profession, and provide hands-on exploration/activities.

The event is free and welcomes Southborough  students – so I really encourage girls to make the most of this opportunity.

Forms are due by March 17. But enrollment is limited to the first 180 girls. It’s known to fill up and workshops selections are filled first come, first served. So don’t wait to register.

The hands-on career workshops planned for this year are: 

  • Womin in STEM Conference flyer

    (click to open reg form)

    Architecture
  • Chiropractor
  • Conservation Agent
  • Dentist/Orthodontist
  • Environmental Health & Safety Engineering
  • Computer & Electrical Engineer
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Research Scientist
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Chromatography/Chemistry
  • Nursing
  • Research Scientist
  • Science Teacher
  • Surgeon
  • STEM Educators

This is the 10th time the Junior Women’s Club has held the mentoring event (previously titled Women in Science & Math Conference.)

To see more event details or to register, click on the flyer to open the printable registration form.

Thank you Northborough Junior Women’s club for organizing such a worthwhile event. And for free! 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dean Dairy February 22, 2017 at 6:25 PM

Women in STEM Conference, Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, MA

…But enrollment is limited to the first 180 girls.

Should a public school be used for an educational event that explicitly excludes males on account of their sex?

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2 beth February 22, 2017 at 9:23 PM

Yes.

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3 Dean Dairy February 23, 2017 at 9:26 AM

I posed my original comment as a question to give me some time to think about this issue.

Based on the nature of the Women in STEM Conference event, I think its exclusion of male students based on their sex is likely unprotected activity and therefore constitutes unlawful discrimination in a public facility.

There would be fewer problems with a “Girls STEM Club” organization regularly meeting at the public school. Like the Boy or Girl Scouts, this would be a membership organization of young people meeting for purposes of “expressive association.” See Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000) and Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 622 (1984).

The Women in STEM Conference, by contrast, is not an “association” of members, but instead it’s an outside-sponsored educational opportunity event open to the public that excludes males solely on account of their sex.

While there is “expression” by the outside organization for the purpose of disseminating a certain message, there is no underlying “association” of members. The Women in STEM Conference is using a public facility to issue a public invitation to an event whose admission policy overtly discriminates against visitors solely on the basis of their sex.

By what process have we reached the point where boys have a right to use the girls’ changing room but cannot attend a public event meant to introduce students to educational opportunities?

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4 beth February 23, 2017 at 9:45 AM

I am not part of the organization, nor a legal expert. So I won’t debate the merits of your legal argument.

Instead I’ll focus on what I believe your main objection is – an educational opportunity that excludes males.

This is just my personal opinion.

I’m the mother of two children, a girl and boy. I’m not worried that my son won’t be encouraged to pursue a career in STEM. Past studies have indicated that girls aren’t encouraged, or through various cultural influences, are discouraged from pursuing that path. (And before you ask – that is my recollection. I don’t have time to research it. But I’m sure that is the perception that the Junior Women’s League is basing their efforts on.)

I don’t believe this workshop is giving girls a leg up over the boys in pursuing a career. I see it as helping to encourage girls to consider the careers as just as possible for them as boys.

And given all the advantages men tend to have in the workplace over women, I wouldn’t cry if I discovered it did give the girls a small leg up.

I shared my opinion, because I strongly support what the league is doing for the girls. I thought they deserved someone to stand up for them. (Especially since as a Northborough based group, they are unlikely to be reading the blog!)

But I’m not invested enough to take the time to continue this debate (especially over school break). So, I plan to let my own comments drop from here, even if you respond.

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5 Mark Fallon February 24, 2017 at 6:35 AM

The event is held by an association – The Northboro Junior Woman’s Club. It’s similar to a pinewood derby contest held by the Cub Scouts. You could try for remedy in the courts, but I’m guessing you would lose.

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6 Dean Dairy February 24, 2017 at 8:59 AM

From what I’ve read, only Cub Scouts can compete in the Pinewood Derby. To the extent that females are excluded from participating, that exclusion is coextensive with active membership status in the Cub Scouts. As far as I can tell, no invitation is made to the public to compete. That’s why I said participation within a “membership organization” like the Scouts — Boy or Girl Scouts — is likely within the “expressive organization” exception.

GFWC Northboro Junior Woman’s Club​
We are group of more than 50 women who live in Massachusetts and work together to enhance the quality of life in our community through volunteer effort !!

The NJWC is an organization, yes, but it sounds like an adult organization that is issuing an invitation to students to attend an educational opportunity event at a public school. The analysis would be the same if the Cub Scouts event held at a public school where they issued a boys-only invitation to the public to attend, especially if the event concerned access to educational opportunity.

Courts aside, unlike the Pinewood Derby, the girls-only STEM event is being held at a public education building. One would hope the educators — public officials — in charge of those schools and responsible for setting policy would, themselves, look at the nature of the event — an educational opportunity event — and consider the precedent it sets outside of the “expressive association” exception by excluding male students simply on the basis of their sex.

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7 resident February 24, 2017 at 2:59 PM

We will let you come if you really want to, now stop whining.

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8 Mark Fallon February 24, 2017 at 3:31 PM

From the description of the event, it’s intent is to encourage girls and young women to pursue professional fields in which they’re currently underrepresented. Sounds like that’s in the public interest. Federal guidelines allow single-sex classes, schools, or extracurricular activities if they are designed to meet a public interest.

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9 Karen Muggeridge February 24, 2017 at 5:25 PM

DD, did you or a male you know who wanted to learn how girls could explore becoming women in STEM careers put in a request to the NJWC to attend and were you or the other individual denied? You have been given permission to attend so I guess this is a rhetorical question.

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