Quinn Announces Plan To Close City’s Science, Technology, Engineering And Math (STEM) Gender Gap, Offers Plan To Open An All-Girls Stem Middle Schools In Each Of The 5 Boroughs

Christine Quinn today announced her plan for closing the gender gap in math and science and tech sector, by committing to the creation of an all-girls Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) middle school in each of the five boroughs. The schools will offer unprecedented opportunity to New York City girls at one of the most important stages of their educational development and will provide the support they need for continued academic success in fields drastically underrepresented by girls.

“Although we recognize how many incredible gains women have made through the decades, we can’t lose sight of how our girls – the next generation of great, powerful women – are supported today,” said Quinn. “We can’t let them slip through the cracks, and instead need to do all we can to foster our girls’ limitless potential. With new STEM middle schools made solely for New York City girls, we’ll set them on a path to become the great minds who are ready to tackle the challenges facing New York City – and the world – in years to come.”

Quinn’s plan will create at least one new all-girls STEM middle school in each of the five boroughs. The placement of new schools will be decided as part of the Department of Education’s annual decision-making process for locating new schools.

By focusing on middle schools, Quinn’s plan will target resources and efforts at one of the most critical stages for educational development in young girls. Studies have shows that boys and girls perform equally, with girls often outperforming boys at younger ages, but this begins to change during middle school, where girls begin to underperform in STEM classes. 

The all-girls STEM middle schools will include special programming and support to better prepare students for continued education in the science, math and technology. The schools will offer lab and computer sciences, Regents level instruction in science and math, and additional hours of STEM instruction during the school day to provide  support for students aiming to apply to specialized high schools.

Boys far outnumber girls at many of New York City’s specialized high schools. The High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College, for example, was 67 percent male last year.

Only about one in four students in many of the city’s public school tech programs is a girl, which leads eventually impacts the pipeline of women in the tech industry. Additionally, more than twice as many boys than girls took advanced-placement tests in computer science last year. According to a recent survey, fewer than 15 percent of female high school seniors nationwide expressed interest in working in the technology field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, in the next five years, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in other fields, at an estimated 21.4 percent. Even so, only six out of every 100 9th graders ends up with a STEM degree.