Want Your Little Girl to be a Success?

When I see a young girl at play, I remember how fun and freeing that experience was for me. The world is hers – literally. The opportunities and possibilities are endless, especially given the pace and direction our world is moving in. The saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ reminds me that even though I am not yet a mother, I still need to encourage kids to pursue their dreams from a very young age. That’s what happened for me, and I have to say, it’s worked out pretty well.

Interestingly,  young girls are not overly encouraged to explore their passions in areas which will help them enter the workforce into mostly male-dominated industries.  Restoring the male/female balance in the workplace and getting young girls interested and excited in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM, will help them pursue the education they need to achieve their dreams and goals and enter equally into an ever-changing workforce.  Women bring special qualities to the workforce and frankly, we need them there.

Want to know how serious this is?  Currently, less than 25% of all jobs in STEM are held by women, and in the next decade, more than 80% of jobs will require technology skills.  Girls have to get ready and be encouraged to start exploring STEM now!

I was certainly encouraged to explore my interests in STEM, science in particular, from a very young age.  As a Canadian, I am spoiled with this country’s natural gifts; lakes, lots of fresh air, forests, parks and wildlife.  Growing up, my family spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying nature and I was always raised to be environmentally conscious to preserve our planet.  When at home, we were always taught to recycle and turn lights off immediately when we left a room.  I remember taking an interest in science and the environment from a young age and studied biology and chemistry passionately while in school.  I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and eventually started a cleaning service in Toronto, where I live.

While I didn’t know it at the time, that scientific background gave me the resources I needed to start my cleaning company and ultimately make it successful.  I have to know what products jive and which don’t, what to use on what surfaces and how to avoid damage, what DIY cleaning recipes can work and the ‘why’ behind it, and of course, why disinfection and dealing with bacteria is so important.  Later on, this knowledge gave me the confidence to create YouTube videos and blogs about cleaning and share this knowledge with Clean My Space fans worldwide and of course, help them become more environmentally conscious in the process.  Every single day I receive emails, tweets and comments from our fans telling me that they’ve made the switch to more environmentally responsible practices.  I am absolutely elated that this is the net impact I’m having on our fans and the planet.

I feel strongly about girls being encouraged to explore these areas at a young age; it sparks curiosity and establishes strong schema for later in life.  Being more inquisitive and encouraged to learn in these technical (and mostly male-dominated) areas empowers girls, and they truly can do anything when they feel that way.  It made a difference for me and I want to share that with others.

So, what can you do to help inspire young girls in your life to explore their interests and passions in STEM?  Join the conversation by using #inspirehermind and to see how Verizon is helping out, visit http://bit.ly/VerizonSTEM02 to learn more.

Verizon has committed generous resources to this very important initiative and invited me to participate.  I am appreciative of their sponsorship and for being involved with such an important program.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.