Carnegie Science Center Teaches Girl Scouts Chemistry….of Makeup?

The Carnegie Science Center offers workshops for Girl and Boy Scouts so they can earn science badges, while being introduced to more complex concepts such as chemistry, engineering, astronomy and….wait for it….makeup.

They have multiple workshops for Boy Scouts that are available for all ages and levels of Scouts, and are offered on many different days. For girls on the other hand, (because really, why would a Girl Scout want to know about science anyway) they offer one measly workshop that is only available for ages 8-12, and is only held on one day. Okay to be fair to Carnegie Science Center, limiting girls’ choices is not really a new thing in our society. I mean at least they have an option for girls! So what is this workshop then?

The title is literally, and no I’m not screwing with you..this is really the title, Science with a Sparkle. Oh. My. Word. WTF is wrong with you people?! A description of the workshop states:

“Prepare to be dazzled! Dive into chemistry and learn how science relates to health and beauty products. Become a cosmetic chemist and concoct your own creations to take home.”

Okay permission to vomit? Thanks! The response from the Carnegie Science Center explains that they have struggled to get girls to sign up for programs in engineering, chemistry and other “manly” science topics. My issue with this is that it isn’t the girls signing up themselves. It is their parents and troop leaders that say “Hmm, better not show these girls topics that will spark creativity, interest and intelligence….lets just teach them what goes in makeup so they can name chemicals they have to paint on their faces!”

Now, the Carnegie Science Center did explain in their response to the “Science With A Sparkle” backlash that they are working on outreach programs that are focused on girls.

“that’s the mission of our Carnegie STEM Girls, a Science Center department devoted specifically to programming for girls to get them excited about science and considering careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”

While I think this is awesome, I think that it’s frustrating to say that certain girls are interested in science and math but that Girl Scouts are simply more interested in makeup and sleepovers. This is seriously dangerous thinking and we need to make sure that all girls are encouraged to participate in math and science programs. The only time anyone ever urged me to follow a career path in science, was when I was a senior in High School. My physics teacher brought it up multiple times that I excelled in her class and that I should apply for a women in physics scholarship to college. She also constantly pestered me about joining the robotics team but I never thought I was “smart enough” to do it.

If I could go back knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t major in physics because that isn’t my passion, but I would totally join the robotics club. Science is fun! It’s a great way to exercise your brain and think critically to work through problems. It’s also a great chance to learn how to do collaborative team work to accomplish a task. This is something we can’t let girls miss out on.

So yes, I applaud the Carnegie Science Center for realizing the need for girls’ participation in this field; however, I think more needs to be done to give all girls a chance to experiment with science. What do you think about the “Science With A Sparkle” issue?

3 thoughts on “Carnegie Science Center Teaches Girl Scouts Chemistry….of Makeup?

  1. I see how Carnegie’s intentions meant well, but I think there should be more Girls in STEM outreach to attract girls to the field, instead of dumbing down the material to attract more girls.

    I also think it would be a great idea to integrate these classes, and not only have classes separated by gender. I don’t know how Boys/Girls Scouts works, but if both organizations are striving to instill certain skills and values in children, then I think it would be a great idea to have boys and girls learn alongside each other. Children are often overwhelmed with the stigmas and stereotypes that adults put in their heads, and the Scouts programs could be a great way of helping kids develop their own ideas and own understandings of the world around them.


    1. I had a very similar reaction, I think gendering science to be more “girl-oriented” just accentuates the idea that science is for boys and that no girls are interested in traditional science topics. And by separating the workshops into boys and girls, it implies that neither gender could be interested in the opposite gender’s workshop. There is no reason that girls can’t enjoy traditional physics or chemistry workshops and that boys can’t enjoy a makeup workshop.


  2. Yes! I totally agree with both of you. I thought it was interesting that they felt the need to separate the gender groups in the first place if their primary intentions are selling tickets. You would think that they would make more money by allowing both Boy and Girl Scouts to attend whatever they choose. Beyond a monetary standpoint though, it would enforce that men and women should collaborate so we can all succeed!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s