Press Release: Research Released Today Shows Girls' Underrepresentation In STEM Careers Is Driven By A Lack Of Confidence

New report by Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX) shares findings on girls' career aspirations and pursuit of STEM careers from survey of 10,000+ U.S. girls

COLUMBUS (October 11, 2018) – On the International Day of the Girl, Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX) reveals new findings related to adolescent girls and careers from a national survey of more than 10,000 girls. The largest study of its kind,  The Girls' Index™: New Insights into the Complex World of Today's Girls, provides a deeper understanding of the factors related to girls’ abilities, perceptions and aspirations for their futures.

 The findings from this new report entitled, Girls, STEM and Careers: Decoding Girls’ Futures in an Age of Social Media, were released today at Intuit Headquarters in Mountain View, CA as part of this year’s International Day of the Girl celebration.

 “The revelations contained in this research study effectively reframe the conversation and highlight the opportunities ahead as we empower the next generation of women leaders to take their seat at the table,” said Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit. “In a world where an understanding of STEM is quickly becoming table stakes, building confidence and capability in girls that their contributions measure up and matter is critical to their individual and our collective success. At Intuit, we have benefited greatly from talented women leading our company at every level, from the board room to our front lines, and we are champions of the important work that Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX) is driving to increase the pipeline of interested and capable girls in pursuit of their dreams.”

 Made possible with support from Battelle, the Girls, STEM and Careers Impact Report provides a deeper understanding of behaviors, thoughts and perceptions of a national sample of fifth through twelfth grade girls.

 "Reaching today's girls means hearing their voices," said Dr. Aimee Kennedy, Senior Vice President of Education and Philanthropy at Battelle. "Those voices come through loud and clear in this report, and anyone who supports young women, as a parent, educator or mentor, should read it."

 Research findings include: 

●      Girls’ interest in pursuing a career in math and/or science increases 16 percent from fifth to ninth grade, however, during these years there is also a 15 percent decline in girls’ perceived abilities in math and science. Additionally, overall confidence declines as girls get older.

●      While 73 percent of girls believe they are good at math and/or science, this number declines to less than half for Hispanic girls, and only 56 percent of Asian girls. This is in contrast to 77 percent of white/Caucasian girls and 72 percent of black/African American girls.

●      More than 42 percent of girls believe that there are certain jobs that are better for men than women. Additionally, one in three girls believe that boys are encouraged more than girls in the areas of math and science.

“When fifty percent of high school girls report that they are considering a career in a math and/or science field, we celebrate this as a sign that the national efforts to increase girls’ interest in the STEM fields is having a positive impact. However, when nearly the same percentage of girls do not believe they are smart enough for their dream job, we recognize that we need to augment our efforts to support girls personally and academically,” said Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, ROX Founder and Executive Director and principal researcher of The Girls’ Index.

Read the full release here.


Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX) announces initiative to connect innovative research to practice in accessible, timely and impactful ways

COLUMBUS (September 28, 2018) - Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX), announces the development of The ROX Research and Training Institute thanks to a lead gift from Alliance Data, a marketing and loyalty company that delivers value through branded credit programs for many of the world’s most recognizable brands. The Institute will be the first multidisciplinary institute designed to address the complex needs of today’s girls by creating targeted and relevant trainings and educational content to enable adults to make data-informed decisions when teaching, mentoring, parenting and caring for girls.

The ROX Research and Training Institute will serve parents, educators, practitioners and business and community members with tools to create empowering, supportive and effective environments and experiences for girls.

“Through The Girls’ Index, our national survey of 10,678 girls, we learned that girls’ lives are tremendously complicated and they need support and understanding from the adults in their lives. We also learned that adults are looking for tools and resources to help them more effectively teach, parent, mentor and support the girls in their lives. The ROX Research and Training Institute will put research into practice in accessible, timely and impactful ways to make the world better for girls. We are thrilled that Alliance Data shares our commitment to using data for good and are honored for their support and partnership on this exciting initiative,” said Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, ROX founder and executive director.

Alliance Data, a significant ROX partner for the past four years, announced their $400,000 gift to support the initiative last night at ROX’s annual fundraiser, Girls Without Limits. Alliance Data’s contribution is the lead philanthropic gift for the development and launch of the Institute in 2019.

“At Alliance Data, giving back to our communities is fundamental to who we are, and we are so pleased that our partnership with ROX allows us to combine our passion for data with our passion for making a difference. We are excited to partner with ROX to help transform our community and nation to drive positive change for girls,” said Jami Dewolf, chief marketing officer, Alliance Data’s card services business.

The ROX Research and Training Institute will be both a physical location and a virtual hub of activity. Catering to the needs of adults who prefer in-person instruction, an onsite classroom will host regularly scheduled workshops, programs and courses at the ROX Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. In order to expand the reach and expertise, ROX will also build out a virtual learning platform for The ROX Research and Training Institute that will provide access to content for individuals throughout the country, and even the world. These accessible learning modules will provide convenient access to webinars, videos, live-stream events and workshops that individuals, groups, organizations or entire corporations can utilize in their work with girls and women.



COLUMBUS, OH– On August 14, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) held a Community Conversation at St. Stephen’s Community House to discuss developments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. More than 100 constituents attended the event, receiving an update about the positive impact of STEM in Central Ohio and talking with Beatty about related-issues and legislation, as well as other challenges facing Ohio’s Third Congressional District and the nation.   

The first segment of the Community Conversation featured a panel discussion of leading educators and practitioners working at the forefront of STEM education. Panelists included Congresswoman Beatty; Maxwell Slater, St. Stephen’s Community House Farm and Operations Manager; Toni Cunningham, Per Scholas Columbus Managing Director; Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Ruling Our Experiences (ROX) Executive Director; and Mary Jane Pettigrew, Hamilton STEM Academy Vice-Principal.     

A lifelong champion of STEM education, Beatty spoke to the standing room only crowd of parents, stakeholders, advocates, and elected officials about its life-changing effects and her ongoing work to guarantee every student is well-versed in STEM.

“We need a highly trained workforce—hardworking individuals from all walks of life—ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” Beatty said at the Community Conversation. “This is essential to ensuring U.S. competitiveness and leadership in a rapidly changing global economy.” Beatty continued, “Unfortunately, our country is facing a massive shortage of workers skilled in these areas. To help fill the void, St. Stephen’s Community House, many other local nonprofits, and stakeholders are working overtime to equip more Central Ohioans with the much-needed tools, expertise, and education to succeed in the 21st Century, and I am working in Congress to make it a reality.” 

Beatty introduced the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act,H.R. 3119, to expose more students to the STEM fields. If enacted into law, H.R. 3119would provide funding for local school districts to create the necessary infrastructure for enhanced STEM learning early in a student’s academic career. Federal funding would be used to improve professional development for teachers, strengthen outreach to parents, provide mentoring and tutoring programs, expand access to afterschool and summer programs that provide additional enrichment opportunities in STEM, and promote academic advice and assistance in high school course selection that encourages girls and minority-Americans to take advanced STEM classes and become STEM professionals. 

Dr. Lisa Hinkelman delivers keynote presentations

ROX Founder and Executive Director was the invited keynote speaker at the UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine Residency grand rounds culmination showcase. Graduating residents gathered to learn the findings of The Girls’ Index and strategies for educating the patients and families they work with and care for at their practices. 

Additionally, Lisa was invited to share leadership strategies with Huntington’s Women in Leadership inaugural cohort. These rising female associates have been invited to participate in a year-long leadership development experience. 

Lastly, Alliance Data hosted a breakfast and learn for their Easton associates and Lisa shared tips and strategies for helping girls navigate social media at the Battelle for Kids Educators Connect for Success Conference. 

Is your company looking to book a speaker for an upcoming event or training? Let’s chat about working together!


Creating Confident Girls, Cultivating Women Who Lead

On Wednesday, May 30, Columbus women and men will come together for a community-engagement event designed to empower the next generation of women leaders.

The event, Creating Confident Girls, Cultivating Women Who Lead, will be a day of roundtable discussions across the city to discuss the findings from The Girls’ Index—a groundbreaking study conducted by local nonprofit Ruling Our Experiences (ROX)—and how we can cultivate pathways to success and leadership for women.  

The Girls’ Index is the first-ever, large-scale national survey designed to develop a deeper understanding of the thoughts, experiences, perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes of teen girls throughout the United States. The Girls’ Index reported findings on topics ranging from confidence and leadership to social media use and technology, and as part of this event, we will be discussing some key data points to try and tackle a problem that every organization is looking to solve—how to get more women into leadership. 

More than 50 Central Ohio companies  have signed on to host and facilitate conversations at their offices, ranging from fortune 500 companies like Cardinal Health and AEP to the six-person creative studio, WonderJam.

If you’re interested in organizing and hosting your own roundtable discussion about this critical topic, please contact Lauren Hancock at

ESPN features New ROX Research Release on Girls & Sports

In announcing the findings of The Girls and Sports Impact Report, the first in a series of deep analysis into the robust data set from The Girls' Index, ROX secured an national media exclusive with ESPN W. Read the feature by Kavitha Davidson.



2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four Legacy Project Brings to Light New Findings for Girls Who Participate in Sports from Groundbreaking Survey of 10,000+ U.S. Girls

COLUMBUS (April 1, 2018) - Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX) announced new findings related to participation in sports from the largest study of its kind, The Girls' Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today's Girls, which surveyed 10,678 girls across the nation. Seeking to understand how findings vary for girls who participate in sports, ROX executed additional analysis into the robust data set to examine the relationship between sports participation and key personal, social, academic and relationship outcomes.

The Girls and Sports Impact Report was made possible by the Columbus Local Organizing Committee, as part of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four Legacy Project. Complete report findings were released today by report author and ROX Founder/Executive Director Dr. Lisa Hinkelman at a special NCAA Women’s Final Four Beyond the Baseline event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The Girls and Sports Impact Report provides a deep examination of the insights from fifth- through 12tth-grade girls shared in The Girls' Index™ to unveil the differences between girls who report being involved in sports and their non-sports-playing peers. Research findings include:

  • Girls who play sports report higher levels of confidence at all ages. Initial findings from The Girls’ Index found that girls experience a significant drop in confidence throughout middle school, however girls who play sports report confidence at consistently higher rates from 5th-12th grade. Specifically, in the 12h grade, female athletes experience a substantial increase (72 percent report being a confident person) not observed in their peer group (57 percent report being a confident person).
  • Girls who play sports have higher GPAs and have higher opinions of their abilities and competencies. Sixty-one percent of high school girls who have a grade point average above 4.0 play on a sports team. Additionally, girls who are involved in sports are 14 percent more likely to believe they are smart enough for their dream career and 13 percent more likely to be considering a career in math and/or science.
  • The Girls' Index™ found that girls who spend the most time using technology (8+ hours/day) are five times more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours. Overall, female athletes use social media at lower rates than their peers and also experience less sadness and depression.

To watch a video on the findings of “The Girls Index” visit this link.

“Girls experience tremendous challenges with confidence, relationships and aspirations during their adolescent years. However, girls who participate on a sports team are more likely to have learned healthy ways to handle stressful situations, have more effective and supportive friendships with other girls and have increased career and leadership aspirations,” said Dr. Hinkelman.  “Participating in athletics can be an important tool to help girls navigate adolescence.”

“We have always known that hosting the Women’s Final Four would create wonderful opportunities for Columbus to shine in the national spotlight, said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Logan. “But, this marquee event has also provided us the inspiration to learn more about how participation in sports positively affects the well-being of girls. Through the meaningful work of ROX and the Girls index we have learned just how impactful this relationship can be.”

ICYMI: The Girls' Index™ Informs Conversations About Education, Parenting and Technology

The findings of The Girls' Index™ have resonated with reporters, parents and teachers alike since the release in Oct. 2017. Influencers from across the country continue to engage with the key topics from the study-- leadership, confidence, technology, sexting and friendship.

We were proud to be named among the 10 Charts That Changed the Way We Think About America’s Schools in 2017, by The 74 Million. Check out the thought leadership of ROX and The Girls' Index™ findings as featured in:

Join us as we engage all in the empowerment of girls!

At ROX, we believe that we all have an opportunity to help create a world that is more supportive and empowering for girls. Now more than ever, we want to create generations of confident girls who control their own relationships, experiences, decisions and futures.

Join us on Thursday, April 19 at The Hub on Kenny for a fun & educational culinary and cocktail experience and help support the organization that is helping change the world for girls.

Event sponsored by Express Scripts, Premium Beverage and Scali Ristorante.                                RSVP today:

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ROX Draws a crowd at sxsw EDU

The ROX team connected with the thousands of educators, professionals and business leaders that attended SXSWedu last week in Austin, TX. The week kicked off with a coveted solo speaker session by ROX Founder/Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, entitled "Selfies, Sexts & Self-Esteem: Girls & Social Media." It was clear that educators from across the country were desperately seeking resources to address this topic, evidenced by the 200-300 conference attendees waiting in line to access one of the 60 available seats. 

The excitement continued with an official book signing, recognizing Lisa's work in Girls Without Limits: Helping Girls Achieve Healthy Relationships, Academic Success & Interpersonal Strength and engagement opportunities with ROX experts in the Learning Expo. Later in the week, the ROX team had the opportunity to connect with administrative leaders from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy and Girlstart. 

A huge thank you to Sean Cavanagh who published a feature in Education Week about The Girls' Index and the ROX impact at SXSWedu 2018!