WI organization promoting STEM education for girls - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WI organization promoting STEM education for girls

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker proclaimed this week as Computer Science Education Week to highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for women and girls in Wisconsin.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Wisconsin says it supports strengthening STEM education, especially for girls and other underrepresented populations.

Joyce Hoffman, the president of AAUW of Wisconsin, says AAUW is dedicated to breaking down barriers for women and girls.

"We want to see women become all they can be, both in academia and in the workplace," Hoffman said.

Hoffman says Computer Science Education Week is observed each year in recognition of the birthday of computer science pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. Hoffman says Hopper received AAUW's Achievement Award in 1983.

"We want younger women, and particularly girls, to take an interest in computer science," Hoffman said.

AAUW is a community of members who work to break through educational and economic barriers to give all women a fair chance. Hoffman said research they have done shows why there are so few women in STEM fields.

"Girls get the message when they're about going into middle school grades, and they figure that they can't do it, that they shouldn't do it, that they're not smart enough," Hoffman said. "And a lot of them show an interest until they get to those ages and then they hear these messages and they shut down."

In a 2006 survey, 44 percent of girls and 38 percent of boys agreed with the statement, "the smartest girls in my school are not popular," and 17 percent of girls and 14 percent of boys thought that it was true that "teachers think it is not important for girls to be good at math."

AAUW of Wisconsin has nearly 1,700 members in 31 branches across the state. If you would like more information on AAUW of Wisconsin, click here.

Hoffman joined us on 27 News at 5 on Wednesday.

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