Arm Wrestling for STEM

By Gina Cairney — August 08, 2012 1 min read
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From guest blogger Gina Cairney

STEM advocates are always looking for novel ways to entice more girls and women into science, technology, engineering, and math.

That’s why a group of women in Durham, N.C., hosts fundraisers that benefit women and girls. But they’re not your run-of-the-mill fundraisers. They require cash on hand, a good grip, and strength, to participate in arm wrestling.

The League of Upper Extremity Wrestling Women of Durham hosted its seventh arm-wrestling event last week, in partnership with Engineering World Health, a nonprofit focused on improving health-care quality in the developing world, reports the Herald Sun.

The event brought in $4,000 to benefit Engineering World Health and Girls Engineering Change, a nonprofit student group at Duke University. Duke engineering students get paired up with girls ages 14 to 17 as a way to teach and inspire them about engineering opportunities.

If the sportsmanship-like endeavor isn’t your cup of tea, the European Commission has a straightforward approach: Make science more feminine.

The European Commission launched this video in June that plays up themes commonly associated with females—makeup, high heels, pink, fashion—as a way to attract attention.

And attention it got. The video was criticized for reinforcing gender stereotypes and being sexist. It’s still accessible on YouTube, but the European Commission has since taken it down from its website.

Helen Pearson, writer and editor of the scientific journal Nature even tweeted:

Thnx to EC #sciencegirlthing, reminded that no time to write for Nature today. Off to do nails + strut in 4'' heels. — Helen Pearson (@hcpearson) June 22, 2012

Check out the European Comission’s video, “Science: It’s a Girl Thing!”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.