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It started when two canine scientists decide to become pen pals in an era of digital media...

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1 November 2018

Women are thriving in canine science - tell a girl you know!


When we learned why girls aren't pursuing futures in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we wanted to help.

At Do You Believe in Dog? we're enthusiastic about canine science for lots of reasons. Clearly - dogs are awesome. So is science! Since starting the blog in 2012, we've noticed that dogs offer a wonderful way to get others interested in science. People who might not have thought it was for them. Canine science is also fantastic because of its inherent diversity. 

Whether you are interested in evolutionary biology, statistics, genetics, human psychology, animal behaviour, wearable tech, nutrition, anatomy, ecology, urban design, communication, biochemistry, exercise physiology, animal-technology interactions, bio-monitoring, science communication or animal learning - canine science offers a way to be involved! 

To showcase how females are thriving in science, we reached out to a selection of the amazing group of woman succeeding in canine-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) globally. 

They wanted to help too.

Thanks to their support, we'll be featuring one of these fabulous women each day on our social media channels in November, so be sure to keep track on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or Instagram.

Here's why we're doing this...

Fewer girls than boys study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and the gap between girls and boys is growing. Research into biological factors, including genetics, brain structure and development, neuroscience and hormones, shows that the gender gap in STEM is not the result of sex differences in these factors or related to any type of 'innate ability'. 

When young, girls and boys show the same level of interest and abilities in STEM. They may demonstrate different approaches to solving the same issue - exactly why we need both in these fields as diversity offers strength and flexibility in solving problems. Sadly, social, cultural and educational discrimination and biases are leading to girls losing interest in STEM. The ages between 10-15 have been identified as most critical, with many 15 year olds having already lost interest in STEM subjects. 
Several recent studies have explored this trend across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia, surveying tens of thousands of girls and women.

GIRLS CITED A LACK OF FEMALE ROLE MODELS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY,  ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS AS A KEY REASON THEY DIDN'T FOLLOW A CAREER IN THE SECTOR

  • Having visible female role models almost doubles the number of girls interested in STEM careers and helps them to picture themselves pursuing these fields. 
  • There is a clear link between role models and an increased passion for science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, with more interest in careers in these fields, and greater self-confidence. 
  • Perhaps surprisingly, celebrities are considered to be the least influential role models for driving girls’ interest in STEM, while women working in STEM fields are the top drivers, with the most impact.
  • Increased interest in STEM isn’t limited to a single subject. On average, across maths, physics, biology, chemistry and computer science, having a STEM role model results in a 12 percent increase in interest.
  • Equally as important, results show that if a girl has a role model for a particular subject area, such as maths, a corresponding positive effect is still seen across all other STEM fields.
Girls also become more interested in STEM once they’re able to conceive what they can do with these subjects in real life situations and how relevant they are to their future.

The women in canine science want to help inspire the next generation of girls to know that STEM is accessible, fun and waiting for them. And importantly - SO ARE THE DOGS!

Do You Believe in Dog? are honoured to help share insights to the exciting work in this field and the advice today's women would like to pass on to girls considering a future in STEM. 

So tell a girl you know that females are thriving in canine science. Today, please!

Mia and Julie
Cobb Hecht
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