The only one
See last year his ten year old daughter went to science summer camp and loved it. This year she decided to go to a camp focusing on "ancient civilization". Mr. El-Erian soon found out the real reason why his daughter changed topics: "It turns out that she was the only girl in her previous science class. "I don't want to again be the only girl," she told me. So she opted for a subject that would have greater gender balance in the classroom."
His response was
I wish you had told me this before," I said to her in a rather stern tone, reminding her about all the women scientists we had exposed her to. I even asked my wife if we could change our daughter's choice back to a STEM subject...rather than help my daughter "lean in" and pursue a topic she loved, I allowed outdated societal modes to distract her. I failed to counter, much less acknowledge, a stereotype that clouded the lens through which my daughter viewed science.
Actually he missed the point - she didn't like being the only girl there. She shouldn't have to be the only girl there- talking to the camp director about recruiting more girls, talking to teachers, friends and the parents of her friends to recruit more girls and having her convince a couple of her friends to join her all can help get more girls at science camps. Good for his daughter, good for the other girls and good for the boys who see girls enjoying science.
Mr. El-Erian's daughter found ancient civilization "a little boring" and is planning to take a STEM course next summer. Please Mr. El-Erian help her not to be the only girl there this time.