I'm certainly no genius, but growing up, I knew I was "the smart girl." I remember entering my first grade year and having to take this test to determine whether or not I should be transferred to advanced classes, and sure enough, I was. I took some regular courses with my other classmates, but for three classes a day, they would literally come and get you and take you to the computer lab (this was the 80s). It's so funny now because it was the only room filled with computers, which they only allowed honors students to access. We were taught to type, we took some computer skills courses, we took advanced Math and Science, and sometimes we went on special field trips to museums and such.
That moment when they would come and get us each day, made us seem so different and alien to everyone else. It said to everyone, "these are the other kids." They get something you don't. The school wasn't shy about who we were either parading our brains around at whatever school event was happening, but other boys and girls alike always made us feel bad about ourselves and made fun of us for going to classes we didn't choose to go to in the first place, and for just being smart. The trend continued into my third grade year, where again I had to take a test, this time to see if I should be transferred to the gifted and talented school. I got in, but I refused to go on account of not wanting to leave my friends. This became the recurring theme too. In 6th grade, another exam for honors courses, and in high school, I had to test into this exclusive school which I got in.
It was often hard being a nerd, or smart, or whatever adjective people lobbed at it, especially being "the smart girl." When you do well in English or Art, everyone expects that, but when you do well in Math and Science, you are often made out to be some kind of freak, or more often than not, people just don't encourage it or you enough. After my 6th grade year, yes, I was transferred again to the next best school, and it was there that I met with an amazing woman who was to be my Science teacher. It was a first for me. I'd never had a female teacher in Science before. It was really the first time that raising my hand in those types of classes was really encouraged. She really pushed and pushed for me to do more with my gifts, to be more, and to go as far as I could and beyond in her class. She was a major part in why I chose to go to such an advanced high school in the first place.
Young girls are often discouraged from being seen as "the smart girl," or wanting to be a Physicist, or the Surgeon, or the Architect. I think as women we need to encourage not only ourselves, but our young daughters, or young women and girls in particular, to keep pushing the boundaries and opening the doors for other women to walk through. I was the kid with the microscope and if my dad had said, no, play with dolls because you're a girl or both my parents hadn't continued to encourage and not silence my talents, my life might have been a lot different in a negative way. So I would encourage you to really encourage other women and girls in Math, Science, and Sports, all of which we often tend to be discouraged from pursuing.