You guys were very helpful with respect to my talk to a branch of the California Writer's Club. That went really well. I'm going to be giving a talk to 5th and 6th grade girls about women in science, technology, engineering, and math (and the need for more of them). It's some time away, but I've been asked something that has raised an interesting issue - I've been asked to talk about why there are comparatively few women in these areas. Having worked as a scientist, and knowing people in science, engineering, computer technology &c., and based on many things I've read, it seems plain that sexism and misogyny is part of the issue. In some sectors, it can be a significant issue, and can present as outright harassment. In my mind I can envision these 5th and 6th grade girls being galvanized by the injustice of it. But I can more easily see them being discouraged by it. The brief outline I have so far is positive messaging, coupled with some accounts of women who did great things in STEM in the past and aren't generally recognized for it, or who faced significant hurdles because they were female. Those things are cast in a historical context, but nothing I have so far says "here's what you may have to battle if you go this route." If I was giving this talk to seniors in high school, or undergraduate freshman (whom I've taught courses for in the past and have experience with) it wouldn't be a question. These issues would be discussed. For 5th and 6th grade girls, even using age-appropriate context and language I'm leaning against it because it seems discouraging. What do you guys think? Anyone have experience with the age group in question?