Trending. Gender-specific science clubs. Specifically for girls.

Recently, a writer shared her young grandson’s words. On point.

Xavier (age 10): “Why do we say some names are for girls and some for boys? They should all be for everyone. Like, why is Lily a girls’ name? A lily is a flower, and boys like flowers too.”

Flowers are loved by all kids. As is science.

Yet flowers and science are steeped in gender stereotypes.

Gender-specific science clubs are growing in popularity. The concept is based on the fact that there are fewer females in fields that are related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). A fact that is inspiring government and ministries to fund initiatives that encourage our young girls to enjoy science.

Are we asking the right questions?

Is it that science in schools is insufficient to encourage females to pursue these fields? I think back to the number of intelligent young girls in science, math and computer science when I was in secondary school. Girls outnumbered boys in some of these classes.

Is there merit to isolating young girls in gender-specific clubs to inspire a passion for science?

What message are we sending kids?

Undoubtedly, the scales need to be tipped to restore balance. Whether it is through gender-specific modes of instruction or equal opportunity, the end goal remains the same. Progress. And that isn’t gender-specific!

However, I worry that an underlying message is being sent to both young girls and young boys. Girls need additional support to thrive in science. Or worse, that boys don’t need the extra attention. That simply isn’t true in either case.

In our upcoming issue of Brainspace magazine, we feature 5 truly exceptional women that have made the world a better place through science.

A love of science begins at home.

It is too early to tell if isolating girls in the education of science will make a difference in years to come.

Years ago, my daughter confessed that grade 9 science was hard. “And even though I just barely passed my test this week, I just love it!” We regularly did science stuff at home just for the fun of it. She is now a pastry chef and she was top of the class in food chemistry. Science is in everything and inspiring a love of it at home goes a long way.

Try this. Just for the fun of it.

Get some lilies at your local flower shop or grocery store. Enjoy this flower dissection exercise at home with your kids.

After all, boys like flowers too.