For two years, I was on an all girls FLL team, and then spent another two years on a co-ed FTC team, so I have experienced both kinds. The dynamic of both is drastically different, but it just depends on the kind of person to say which one they like best. Personally, I like coed teams better, but that’s just my preference, and don’t get me wrong, my years on the all girls team were great. In terms of being a lady in STEM, there are definately pros and cons to both.
All girls/boys teams:
The pro of being on an all girls teams is it’s super empowering and way easier to work with, since everyone pretty much thinks the same way. Most likely, it’ll be a group of friends who have similar interests, and probably even similar personalities. There’s not much conflict since everyone works and thinks very similarily. Also, “all girls” team is a huge buzz word that people love to hear. We didn’t need to do much fundrasing in FLL, but I’ve heard that having that buzz word makes sponsorships and getting promo easier. For example, our team was interviewed at the World Championships just because we were an all-girls team. The cons to being an all girls/boys team are missing out on that diversity and learning to be open minded to something different.
On the other hand, the pro of being on a co-ed team, is that you get more perspectives and more different ideas, since boys typically have a different way of solving problems, and you get to figure out how to work well with boys, which is a vital skill in a male dominated field, and in life in general. My favorite quote is from FTC team 4924, Tuxedo Pandas, “co-ed teams are better because it teaches guys not to be jerks and girls to stand up for themselves”. I personally like co-ed teams better because they are more of a challenge and there’s so much more to learn, in my experience. Learning how to work well with the opposite gender is very valuable, and definately something we can take throughout life. Though we loveeeeeee the boys on our team, I’m not going to lie, working with them really expanded my horizons. We had to learn to collaborate on ideas, and try to see each other’s point of views, and get over the gender sterotypes. It’s really interesting hearing what they have to say.
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