Folks, I’ve been supporting an effort to get women and girls involved in tech for some time now, with support for orgs like Girls Who Code and Black Girls CODE. I’ve also done some work with Roya Mahboob and the New Delhi-based Feminist Approach to Technology. And, I’ve been working with The Women’s Building in SF. Check out this map to see where we’ve teched across the globe…
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. To reach gender parity by 2020, women have gotta fill half of these positions, or 700,000 computing jobs. Right now, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold only 25% of the jobs in tech or computing fields (according to Girls Who Code).
This is why it’s important to get girls involved in tech now.
Here are 5 other reasons we need to focus on teaching girls about tech:
- In middle school, 74% of girls show interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. If we encouraged girls to code and to get involved in tech, more girls might start majoring in computer science. For example, 100% of girls who participated in Girls Who Code’s 2012 program report that they’re definitely or more likely to major in computer science after taking the program.
- Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing.
- When we create technology and tech products, we create for the masses. By having a male perspective consistently leading and developing tech, we’re building this through the lens of men and their perspective not the masses.
- “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”- Charles MalikThat is, we’re living in a very small period of tremendous social change, where the people who are best prepared, who have the best listening and cooperative skills should get their chance of running things.
I don’t think we’ll see revolution, we’ll see a rebalancing of power, shifting from traditional sources of power (authority and money) to power based on the size and effectiveness of one’s network.
- Although the digital divide’s steadily eroding, tremendous barriers to entry in the technology field still remain for women of color. Black Girls CODE notes that early access and exposure are essential to changing the status quo.
Google launched an initiative last month called Made With Code, with the goal of getting young women excited about learning to code in an effort to close the gender gap in the tech industry. Google’s investing $50 million into the program over the next 3 years. Hey, it’s a good start.
How else do you think we can work to get more girls involved in tech and coding? This is the real deal, more to come…