Bias busting
For Parents.
As a parent, you want
the best for your child.
You know that,
with enough hard
work and resilience,
every kid can be
anything they
want to be.
When it comes to
achieving their dreams,
Nothing should be
out of reach for
the next generation
But when it comes to STEM subjects - or science, technology, engineering and math - many parents face challenges supporting and nurturing their child's talents and interest in the fields. Studies have shown that specific demographics, such as girls, Indigenous, Black and 2SLGBTQ+ students, are nudged away from STEM subjects at a young age.

The culprits are numerous, from the toys kids play with, to feedback from children's peers and teachers, to the media's representation of people working in these fields. You may have a role in perpetuating stereotypes without even realizing it.

The good news?
You can change things.

As a parent, you play a critical role in being a part of that change. By taking the time to learn more about implicit and explicit bias and how to counteract them, you can be an active participant in creating a more equitable and diverse environment and future for engineering and geoscience, and a safer, better world for all.
Know your Bias.
You may know about bias, and how biases can lead to damaging stereotypes about women, Indigenous peoples, and transgender people, for example, but it's equally important to understand that you have biases that have an effect on those around you.

It is important to realize they exist and that some kinds of bias can have harmful impacts on future decisions your child makes about their educational pursuits and career aspirations.
Research has shown that prevalent biases in parents can push children away from STEM subjects, and ultimately from fields like engineering and geoscience, and erode confidence in children at a young age. For example, boys are often praised for their "natural capabilities" in math and science, yet studies have shown that they are no more capable in these subjects, nor do they perform better on tests.

This stereotype may be what leads girls to believe that STEM subjects are not for them.
Nurturing budding
Engineers &
If you have a child or teenager who has shown excitement for STEM subjects and an interest in engineering or geoscience as a career choice, there are many things you can do to support them. If your child is in high school or heading into high school, you can familiarize yourself with the admissions requirements for the University of Manitoba's Faculties of Engineering and Science and other schools that offer similar programs. As with other fields of study, there are core and essential high school courses that must be fulfilled as prerequisites for admission to the programs.

If your child is Indigenous, also check out the admission requirements for the UofM Engineering Access Program, a program that provides an opportunity for students of Indigenous ancestry, who may not have had access to the prerequisites required to apply to, prepare for, and succeed in engineering.

University College of the North offers first year engineering courses. Contact them to see what is being offered in Thompson and The Pas for the upcoming term.
Ways to engage at home
Interest in becoming
a future engineer or
geoscientist often
begins at home.
By nurturing your child's curiosity in the world and supporting their interests, you can build the foundation for success in STEM subjects, and the resilience they'll need to overcome obstacles.
Spaghetti Bridge Competition:
If your child loves to build, this competition challenges them to build the strongest bridge of them all using everyone's favourite pasta. Best of all: the winning bridge builders earn cash prizes!
Camps and Classes:
Sign your mini-engineer or geoscientist up for engaging and enriching classes and camps that'll spark their interest in STEM subjects, problem-solving, and working with others.
At-Home Activities:
Check out these fun engineering and geoscience activities that make STEM subjects a hands-on experience.

The following are books recommended for young kids to nurture an interest in engineering and geoscience subjects.

  • Ara, the Star Engineer by Komal Singh
  • Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • Cece Loves Science by Vashti Harrison
  • The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
  • The Magic School Bus Rocky Road Trip
  • The Magic School Bus to the Rescue: Earthquake
  • The Magic School Bus to the Rescue: Flash Flood
  • The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip
  • Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up
Let's talk about
We need diversity in engineering and geoscience if we're going to tackle the numerous issues facing our communities. Yet, current numbers show a lack of representation in both of these fields. In Manitoba, only 17% of newly licensed engineers were women, and 1% identified as Indigenous in 2019. At that same time, 33% of newly licensed geoscientists identified as women, but none identified as Indigenous. That's a problem, because engineers and geoscientists work to protect the public. If we don't have a diverse group of people at the table to make decisions, we all lose out on solutions that reflect the needs of everyone.

The lack of diversity in these fields is not due to an absence of ability, but rather, due to persisting biases and stereotypes. For example, numerous other countries - like Malaysia, Oman, Iran and Saudi Arabia - have higher percentages of women working in engineering.
Because engineers and geoscientists work to protect the public with what they do, when we don't have the required perspectives at all levels, we don't get solutions that work for us all. This can have negative consequences, and even put certain populations and communities at risk.

Read on about some ways a lack of diversity has negatively impacted the public at large.
It's why Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba has made a formal commitment to challenging bias and to ensure more people from different backgrounds, cultures and communities enter and stay in engineering and geoscience.

Find out more about our initiatives and check this space for more ways you can get involved.