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Why are Role Models Important in STEM?

By Sidra Miller

Role models are important for everyone. They set up our beliefs, moral compass, interests, and hobbies. According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, “The effectiveness of role models has roots in what’s called “observational learning,” where children learn and copy behaviors and actions by watching and listening to other people. Common examples range from a child learning how to swing a bat after watching a baseball game to the repetition of an inappropriate word first heard on the playground.” If children are exposed to other students or adults who work in STEM, it can trigger a curiosity for it which can open doors for so many new things.

From a female perspective, when we see another woman doing a STEM-related activity, it inspires others to do the same because it makes them think that it’s possible to participate. There was an experiment done between 1966-1977 where people gathered 5,000 drawings from kids from kindergarten-12th grade over what a scientist looks like. Less than 1% of them were females. In 2016, 58% of scientists were females drawn by other girls, while males were 1/10 likely to do the same. The statistics rose became more women are joining STEM. This can be summarized in the concept of “Seeing is Believing.” Research shows that there are 2 main aspects to having role models: they show mindsets and behaviors of what is possible to achieve, and they inspire others to set their goals and ambitions high. Research shows that women value jobs that directly help people (healthcare, first responders, etc.) but not as much in other areas like robotics. There should be more of an equal distribution of women in all fields to help inspire others. It’s important that more women continue to put themselves in STEM fields.

Seeing only men give off the idea that only men can be that good or work in that field. With women, it’ll help keep their interest and help increase the chance of going into a future career that involves STEM. In addition, having more female role models can help with sexism. If young men are exposed to more female role models, they’re more likely to see them as equals and treat them as such. This way, the stigma that STEM is a male-dominated stereotype can slowly start to subside.

Works Cited

Larsen, Natalie. “This Is What a Scientist Looks Like: The Importance of Female Role

Models in STEM.” Promega Connections, 25 Mar. 2022,

“The Power of STEM Role Models | National Inventors Hall of Fame®.”, Accessed 9 Dec.


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