Home Maybe The Carnegie Science Center Didn’t Just Diss Science-Minded Girls

Maybe The Carnegie Science Center Didn’t Just Diss Science-Minded Girls

The Internet blew up Friday over a seemingly outrageous image—a list of the different science and technology programs the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh offers to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts:


This photo, which shows a 9-to-1 discrepancy in the number of courses the museum offers for Boy Scouts and for Girl Scouts, was shared more than 3,000 times on Facebook and Twitter, and not happily. It wasn’t just the numbers; the fact that the single offering for Girl Scouts had the word “sparkle” in the title seemed like a calculated insult. We already know that fewer girls than boys grow up to have careers in science, and this wasn’t helping.

See also: Why So Few Women Are Studying Computer Science

But the story is a little more complicated than it looks at first glance. It turns out that the viral photo is only a small part of that particular page in the program, which goes on to list multiple events just for girls arranged by a separate museum program:

In a lengthy statement on its Facebook page, Carnegie Science Center also clarified that it offers the programming it does because, well, that’s what girls want. The organization also noted that Girl Scouts are welcome to attend Boy Scout programs if they choose (although of course the program itself doesn’t mention that).

The museum wrote:

Regarding Girl Scout-specific programming, we have struggled when it comes to enrollments. 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’—which teaches girls about chemistry—and our sleepovers at the museum.

As for calling it “Science with a Sparkle,” it’s been shown that names do matter when getting girls interested in science. The University of California at Berkeley changed the name of an entry course from “Introduction to Symbolic Programming” to “The Beauty and the Joy of Computing.” The result was 40% female enrollment for the first time ever. 

Lead photo by Todd Kulesza

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.