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“Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood” by Amanda Alzena Sullivan 

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Men continue to outnumber women in numerous technical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields such as, engineering and computer science. Prior work demonstrates the importance of introducing girls to STEM content early on, before gender stereotypes are ingrained. However, many parents and teachers are not sure how to do this in a developmentally appropriate and playful way. Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Childhood by Dr. Amanda Sullivan, Ph.D. explores the various social, cultural, and psychological reasons behind the persistent gender disparity between men and women in STEM fields. By explaining the powerful role of stereotypes, the media, and experiences with peers and adults during the foundational early childhood years, this book builds the case of early childhood being a critical time in development to reach girls. Breaking the STEM Stereotype is set up in three parts. Part 1 provides the current state of the gender divide in each aspect of STEM and explores why early childhood is a critical time to address this divide. Part 2 explores gender identity development and gender stereotypes as well as the influences of the media, advertising, and adult and peer role models on young children. Finally, Part 3 arms readers with the knowledge they need to dispel gender stereotypes in STEM. It provides suggestions on tools, technologies, and kits that can be used with young girls beginning in pre-kindergarten. It provides materials needed to design effective curricula and activities to engage girls with STEM in playful ways that build on their personal interests.

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