Girl gamers more likely to pursue a career in sciences
Today, Grade 8 pupil Layla Khumalo is a girl with a joystick in her hand, playing her favourite game of Sims or Minecraft twice a week.
But tomorrow she could be the next Marie Curie, making groundbreaking discoveries thanks to her love for gaming.
New research in the UK has suggested that girls who play video games are more likely to choose physical science, technology, engineering or maths degrees compared with their nongaming counterparts.
Published in the Computers in Human Behaviour journal, the study found that 13- to 14-yearold girls, classified as “heavy gamers” (playing more than nine hours a week), were three times more likely to pursue a PSTEM degree compared with girls who didn’t indulge in games like Fortnite, Minecraft and League of Legends.
Khumalo, 14, who is part of Afrika Teen Geeks, a computer science NGO, believes there is a link between her love for maths and science and gaming. “I think gaming helps me a lot with my problem-solving skills, which you need with maths and science. I find it easier to decipher,” she said.
Khumalo, who usually scores an average of 90% in maths and 75% in science, has her sights set on a career as a software architect.
One-time self-confessed “geek girl” gamer and physics graduate Dr Anesa Hosein wanted to find the connection between her love for science and video games.
For the research she looked at the records of 3,500 girls to determine whether their level of interest in video games when they were 13 or 14 had any relationship with the degree subject they later studied.
The study found that girls who played more than nine hours of video games a week were 3.3 times more likely to study PSTEM.
Video game-playing boys, meanwhile, were only 1.5 times as likely to take up a PSTEM degree. Hosein believes video games could be the short-term answer to science’s gender problem. — Times Select
Gaming helps me a lot with my problem solving skills, which you need with maths and science. I find it easier to decipher