• Rachel Loechelt

Instilling the confidence in young girls to believe they are good at math.

Today I listened to a very inspiring Ted Talk, “Don’t Fear Math” that I just had to share with you all.

I’ve always loved math, even as a small girl. When I was younger, I was enrolled into an all girl’s science club called, “The Sally Ride Science Club”. Reflecting back on my childhood, I am very grateful to have been encouraged by my teacher to join this club because women in science and math oriented fields are so crucial in running the world.

Did you know, age 15 is when a young girl becomes uninterested in math? This could be due to many reasons, but I believe society teaches young girls that science and math influenced careers such as engineering are primarily male dominated industries.

Phylecia Jones, a former computer scientist from the U.S Navy and current money coach, expresses that in her line of work, she’s come to realize many people struggle with math. During her time on the Ted Talk stage, Jones advocates her stance on creating a world where young girls are made to feel that they are in fact good at math. After much debate, Phylecia isn’t quite sure why young girls become uninterested in mathematics. 

Katherine Johnson was once a 15 year old girl who persevered in her science and math education and helped get us to the moon. Patricia Bath was once a 15 year old girl who’s math and science education led her to creating a device designed to correct cataracts so that those who were suffering could have vision again. Phylecia Jones expresses these are proud examples of woman who defied the odds and proved the importance of keeping girls interested in mathematics from a young age.

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights. (source: Wikipedia)

Patricia Era Bath is an American ophthalmologist, inventor, humanitarian, and academic. She was the first woman member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, first woman to lead a post-graduate training program in ophthalmology, and first woman elected to the honorary staff of the UCLA Medical Center. (source: Wikipedia)

Given what we know to be true about the young women in our society, what do we do about it? Phylecia Jones stresses the importance of supporting a young girl’s mathematics abilities before she closes that book. Young girls should be given the encouragement to peruse anything they can dream of and should never feel the repression of sexism.

Phylecia Jones would like the takeaway from her message to be, tell each and every young girl or woman that they are good at math. The notion that women are not good at math needs to end. Everybody has a math brain. Math is part of our every day lives and it’s nonsense to think we don’t utilize it daily let alone that we are bad at it. When you instill the confidence in a young girl to peruse math, it opens up a world of job opportunities and careers that help run our world as we know it.  

“I am good at math.”

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