It is a fact that girls take many less elective STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) classes in school than boys do. It is also a fact that many less women seek Computer careers than men do. There are probably a variety of factors responsible for these choices, but my theory is that the way most parents raise their daughters is the biggest factor.
When your kids are young, do you encourage your daughters to play with puzzles and build with blocks and Legos and other spatial toys as much as you do with your sons? What about video games? Do your daughters play? There are both software and video games that are both fun and educational that deal with writing code or creating video games.
Why is it so important that girls take STEM classes and compete for jobs in the technology sector.
- Engineering and Computer Science majors are being recruited directly out of college into some of the highest paying jobs today. There are more job openings than people who can fill them. Why shouldn’t women share in these lucrative career option?
- For society as a whole, we would get much better creativity and variety if we had workers of different genders in engineering and computer careers.
- Maybe we could finally get rid of the stereotype of the typical computer science loner.
During this past “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day“, President Obama said:
“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math science and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent … not being encouraged the way they need to.”
If you have daughters, here are some Computer Coding resources for girls that can help:
1. Girls Who Code - Girls Who Code’s vision is to reach gender parity in computing fields by offering summer immersion classes in computer science, robotics, algorithms, web design, and mobile development.
2. Black Girls Code - BlackGirlsCode introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities to increase the number of women of color in the digital space and also to empower black women.
3. Hopscotch – An iPad app that teaches easy computer programming to kids.
It is never too late if you have the ability and desire. There are also Computer Classes for Women:
1. Skillcrush – Online coding classes by women for women.
2. Girl Develop It – On-Site classes for women of diverse backgrounds around the world to learn how to develop software. They are currently in 15 cities. Many resources are available on the website.
However, it is too late if you don’t have the ability or desire. That is why parents need to encourage their daughters, just as much as they do their sons, to play with logic and spatial reasoning toys and to take STEM subjects in school and to try video game creation and kids coding skills. You will be doing yours daughters and society as a whole a huge favor. We need more girls in computer careers.