Why ScienceGirls?

Why ScienceGirls?

Int: Couldn’t [girls] care about fashion and science?
Boy 2No they wouldn’t, because fashion and science don’t mix.
‘Doing’ Science versus ‘Being’ a Scientist, 2010 (Archer, Osborne, et al)

The fundamental innovation brought about by the ScienceGirls initiative is based on the simple state of the art: NOTHING HAS WORKED! (“Not for people like me?” WISE, UK 2014), and the consequent user-driven approach applied in the project: gender-sensitive science learning cannot be created FOR but only WITH and BY teenage girls themselves.

The initiative is furthermore based on the following critical premises:

  • considerable research has been carried out in the fields of science learning innovation and gender-sensitive science engagement; however, little practical experimentation has been carried out to create new directions for science learning in schools, based on this research
  • recent initiatives promoting science engagement and science attractiveness for girls and women, including the Commission’s “science-girl-thing.eu”, are mostly based on the following limited logic: “it is not true that science is not for girls, because it really is”; this logic fails to acknowledge that science learning in schools is in fact NOT for girls and that innovation in science learning must include a very strong gender dimension
  • most gender-oriented science learning initiatives are still creating new visions of science in schools FOR and not WITH the girls in early schooling (thus in fact doubling the patronizing in science education); attractive science learning for girls needs to be co-created by the girls themselves to be efficient
  • most science learning initiatives are not challenging the basic premises for traditional science education, neither its massive gender-bias, but are directed towards a) adjusting traditional classroom teaching and/or b) offering stand-alone science excursions without consequences for the everyday science education

The ScienceGirls project is following Commission and OECD invitations to challenge the basic assumptions on which science education in schools builds, including in a strong gender-perspective: re-thinking science education and re-thinking girls in science.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.