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Poverty and Education: Why We Need More Girls in STEM

In Honduras, approximately 60% of all residents experience a life of poverty. With eight million people living in Honduras, approximately 4,800,000 people are impoverished, and that’s in the urban settings. For Hondurans who live in rural regions of the country, the percentage climbs to a little over 65%. 

Did you know that poverty levels directly affect the quality of education girls are likely to receive? Since budgets are tighter, there isn’t always a large amount of funds available for social services, leading to budget cuts and fewer resources for educational purposes. Let’s explore poverty and education in Honduras as we learn more about Our Little Roses’ contribution to women in STEM! 

Poverty and Education: Why STEM is Important for Girls in Poverty 

The acronym, STEM, is short for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM is undeniably important for girls because it offers them an outlet leading away from the cycle of poverty. Professions in STEM industries are exceptional, meaning not only are they accompanied by higher wages, but they also come with numerous opportunities. 

The most male-oriented STEM field is engineering, with computation professions being filled predominantly by men as well. With roughly 86% of all engineering jobs going to men, there is very little room for women to occupy the field of engineering. This is a reality across all four STEM fields, and a similar trend can be seen tracked throughout the education statistics for girls in Honduras. 

The Reality of Poverty and Education for Girls in Honduras

When girls who grow up in poverty are given educational opportunities, their chances of succeeding and prospering are drastically increased. Take the girls of Our Little Roses as a prime example. Compared to the average high school graduation rate of Honduras in general, the girls at Our Little Roses are looking at a 99% graduate rate when the nation’s average is between 25% and 65%. 

As you can see, the percentage of Honduran girls who graduate from high school is very low, and for many impoverished Honduran girls, it’s difficult to prioritize school. Poverty impacts education in many ways, most of which are overlooked and hard to recognize from an outside perspective. 

To give an example, many parents in rural Honduras cannot afford to keep up with the electricity bill, meaning that their children, including girls, do not have lighting to complete their homework outside of school hours. While public education is free up to 9th grade, families must pay for their child’s uniforms, books, and testing material, making education out of reach for families. 

Sometimes, Honduran girls have no choice but to get a job in order to help their parents make ends meet;  perpetuating a system that allows them to fall behind on their education. Over time, the distraction of other obligations causes many girls in Honduras to perform poorly in school.  

The Gender Gap in STEM

Robotics equipment for the girls of Our Little Roses

Did you know that there is a major gap between the men and women who make up the STEM workforce? Globally, only 30% of the world’s researchers are women. In addition to the lack of representation in the STEM field, women are often paid less and have less research published.

The reason for this significant discrepancy between men and women in STEM has less to do with interests and more to do with encouragement. Girls are typically swayed away from a career in STEM, whereas boys are applauded when they explore this field of study. In order to increase the number of women in the STEM workforce and expand the number of opportunities for girls to follow their STEM dreams, there must be a spike in opportunities. 

When we challenge the normalcy of male-dominated industries, we can break down the barriers that keep women as the minority. By challenging gender stereotypes and refusing to let the status quo keep girls away from STEM, we can fight for gender equality in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industries. 

Why We Need More Women in STEM 

With seemingly endless job opportunities in STEM fields, women should be encouraged to fill these positions at the same rate as men. Since the STEM industries grow rapidly, there are many job opportunities yet few people to fill the positions. If women go into STEM, they can fill these open job positions and contribute to the STEM industry of their preference. 

Additionally, women offer a priceless element of innovation. While creativity is not unique to one specific gender, women can offer different approaches, outlooks, and perspectives, helping to expand upon the innovative aspect of STEM industries by offering insights that have yet to be suggested. 

Last but not least, an influx of women in STEM fields would contribute to the economy; with more female employees working in STEM occupations the business sector will realize further expansion, thereby elevating the economy for the entire country.

How Our Little Roses Encourages Girls to Go into STEM

A Honduran student working on a spreadsheet

At Our Little Roses, we strongly encourage our girls to consider a career in the scientific, technological, educational, and mathematical employment fields. Due to the support of our dedicated donors, the faculty of Our Little Roses have been given the start-up resources to create a comprehensive STEM program. 

Recently, Our Little Roses received some exciting new equipment allowing our girls to have hands-on experience in the cutting-edge STEM technology of creating and programming drones. Through generous donations from supporters who care deeply about empowering girls through education, we have access to four essential tools, which include the RoboMaster S1 educational robots, Tello drone kits, Spark Fly More combo drones, and spare batteries to power the Tello robots. 

The goal is to give our girls the opportunity to immerse themselves in a STEM program to see if it piques their interests. The robots cannot be activated without a beginners’ level coding, so it requires the girls to learn how to program the devices. From there, and with YOUR help, we can ensure access to the continued education necessary to consider a future in STEM careers.

With sponsorships from donors like you, we can invest in the education of our girls and help to close the gender gap in the STEM field. Proper education sets our girls up for a promising future, which is the end goal at Our Little Roses – empowering girls to become strong, educated, and independent Honduran women.

If you are interested in committing to a regular donation to Our Little Roses, become a sponsor today and help change a girl’s life!