Teen Girl Gamers 3X More Likely to Pursue STEM

In a recent conversation with a computer science education researcher, I was repeatedly quizzed about my personal inspiration for entering tech. Was it a role model? No. My love of math? No. Eventually I offered that what first interested me about tech came from playing a lot of video games in middle school —but that it hadn’t been very direct path for me.

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With that conversation fresh in my mind, the new study entitled “Girls' video gaming behaviour and undergraduate degree selection” in the journal of Computers in Human Behavior caught my eye. The research found that teen girls who identified as ‘heavy gamers’ were 3X more likely to pursue a STEM degree compared to girls who were non-gamers. The same was not true for boys in that their ubiquitous interest in gaming was not a predictor of pursuing a STEM career.

From our firsthand experience interviewing hundreds of STEM role models, when girls end up in tech it’s often due to a marked love of math or a relative who is in STEM. Dr. Anesa Hosein, the researcher who led the study, stated that educators seeking to encourage more girls to take up STEM subjects should consider targeting girl gamers, as they already may have a natural interest in these subjects. This discovered correlation could help find girls interested in STEM early and turn them onto potential career pathways in computing, technology and engineering.

Melissa RisteffComment