Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Steve Wozniak. All of these are household names, and their innovation in technology have infiltrated every aspect of our lives: If we don’t have an iPhone or MacBook, certainly we use a PC or have a Facebook account. In a world where women comprise half the population and sometimes even outnumber men, why are we so underrepresented in the tech industry?
As of 2015, females accounted for only 30% of the workforce at Google. At Facebook, the numbers slightly increased to 32%. eBay has the best statistics, yet they’re still less than half of their work force.
These numbers are incongruent with education figures, which repeatedly reflect that from an early age, girls outperform boys at school, and are doing so across all segments of society. In some parts of the country, there are more girls who are high school valedictorians than their male counterparts, and the trend continues within college enrollment across the country.
But here’s where it gets interesting: when it comes to choosing majors, the number of women seeking computer science and engineering degrees is significantly lower than men. And the reason is not a lack of interest. The Girls Scouts organization has a very successful STEM program, in which they encourage, mentor, and teach girls an integrated approach to science, technology, engineering, and math. However, once the girls leave the program, they are still faced with an absence of available role models that will continue to boost their enthusiasm for those subjects.
To address this issue, it is imperative we all take proactive approach, in the collective, to steer young girls towards exploring any interests they may have on the subject. We can do so by:
- Researching STEM activities in our area and taking girls in our family to participate in them.
- Showing them videos of other females who are interested in science and engineering.
- Enrolling them in summer camps where they can do fun things, such as creating apps for smart phones and video games.
- Looking for programs they can enroll in, such as through Girls Scouts, or the USF Pre-College Program for high school students.
As with anything else, to solve this issue, we have to address the root of what’s causing it. And what better way to start than with our own children? Few things are as fulfilling as establishing a career in something we enjoy doing every single day, and if we can instill a passion for science while they’re young, we’ll get to reap the benefits of seeing them thrive as successful women in tech.
This Blog was written by Hunter Business Law Attorney Sheryl Hunter. Profile
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