The Science of Becoming a Heroic Girl

Classes for Scouts
Carnegie Science Center — classes for scouts

There is nothing the Internet loves more than a good villain, and the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh sure looked like it fit the bill.

The Science Center offers classes for scouts, girls and boys, to get their science badges. But while the Boy Scouts have classes in Chemistry, Engineering Astronomy and two levels of basic science, the Girl Scouts offered but one solitary class:

Science With a Sparkle

Oct. 11
1 – 4 pm
Ages – 8-12

Prepare to be dazzled! Dive into chemistry and learn how science relates to health and beauty products. Become a cosmetic chemist and concoct your own creations to take home.

That’s right, the only “science” offering for girls was a course on how to make make-up. We had our villain. Boo! Hiss! Carnegie Science Center, shortchanging our girls.

But not so fast.

The Science Center put out a Facebook post to address the controversy. It reads in part:

We understand your frustration and would like to offer some background:

Regarding Girl Scout-specific programming, we have struggled when it comes to enrollments for our Girl Scout programs. In the past, we have offered engineering, chemistry, and robotics programming for Girl Scouts. We created programming to go along with the new Journeys that Girl Scouts use. Unfortunately, no troops signed up for these. The programs that consistently get enrollments are “Science with a Sparkle” and our Sleepovers at the museum.

That’s right, Carnegie Science Center used to offer better science programming for girls — but no one signed up. That’s not a problem they can fix alone. That is one that we must tackle together.

We need to explain to girls why science is something they can and should do. We need to encourage their curiosity and push them to explore the  world around them with a critical eye because science is fun and amazing. We can and must get girls more involved in science and engineering, but we can’t count on a single science center to do it for us. It is something that we have to do together: parents, kids, teachers and society at large.