News flash! It’s not one of the Kardashians!
Fashion week is over and has left us inspired, to try new fashions and dare to take on new trends. Now, just as quickly as fashions turn, so do new technologies. In fact… technology is the latest fashion, and when we think of “fashion”, how can we not think of women?
While technology is as trendy as the latest 80’s jeans craze, when you look around IT there are far and few ladies in between. In fact, women make up less than a third of this “fashion”, based on datausa.io 2016 data (Someone call the fashion police!!!):
Why are there still such enormous gaps for something that would seemingly be something both women and men could do equally as historically women were at one point equal in the pursuit of computing (1980’s)?
Urban Dictionary defines “IT Guy” as “a person who specializes in the field of computer technology or internet technology. Could also be someone that appears geeky, may appear as a computer specialist and may even sound geeky. Also someone who carries too many keys.” Our traditional view of an “IT guy” might look something like Jurassic Park – “Live” Feed photo above. There are many social stereo types this stereotypes demeanor, actions, attitude, and capabilities. Over the past 4 decades as we depend more and more on computing in our daily lives, this perception really hasn’t changed much.
92% of nurses are female (bureau of labor statistics). Why is that? Men are given the same opportunity as women. In the movie “Meet the Parents” Ben Stiller plays “Gaylord Focker” and is ridiculed by his future father-in-law about his profession as a male nurse. There are many social stigmas around that and teachers. So just how do we get to the bottom of what “that” is?
NCWIT the National Center for Women in Technology recently put out a report on “Girls in IT” trying to take a deeper dive into the numbers and more importantly reasons why girls haven’t picked back up on the trend. Formal and Informal Education: Computing curriculum that is disconnected from student interests and environments that are uncomfortable for girls
- Families, Communities, and Role Models: Unequal opportunities and early experiences
- Peer Influences: “Sometimes it’s hard to be the only girl” – (and furthermore when the opposite is true, there is an abundance of teasing)
- Media and Popular Culture: Computing as masculine and “geeky” * Summing It Up: Girls’ perceptions, interests, confidence, and career decisions (who would equate a prestigious female role model with the above imagery?).
We are getting better!
There has been a drastic improvement in our culture in the last few years, taking a very serious look at how we are socialized based on the movies and stories we hear growing up. Many industries leaders like Hollywood, are taking a very close look at how women are allowed at the table and given opportunity, and as a result we see much more diversity. Schools are beginning to address the huge gap, as they look at ways to address this issue.
Collegeboard.org reports the number of female students that are taking AP Computer Science tests is rapidly increasing! Just in 2017 to 2018 by 70%!!
Announcing girlCON 2019: The New “IT” Girl
While the media does it’s part to portray females in non-traditional roles. Many other organizations both traditional educators and the new breed of coding schools, have taken the initiative to focus on bringing girls to technology.
One such is Columbus, OH based getWITit.org in their first of it’s kind conference for girls in tech ages 7th – 10th grade.
Until the opportunity is completely equal, there is be a need to create a community of support that fosters girls to both want to choose technical careers, and feel supported.