Growing up, I was so obsessed with the superhero series. My personal favorite has always been Iron Man. I was fascinated by the fact of how a normal people like you and me can turn into a superhero with the help of technology — from there my interest in technology was born. Until I was in junior high school I had never touched a computer and the concept technology and computer was just like a magic box. It was all changed when I was introduced in a programming course. I was the only women in my class to be intrigued by the concept of logic, trial, and error; something most women are scared to experience.
Just as Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code shared in her Ted Talk, we have been teaching our girls to be perfect, not brave. She shared about how a friend of hers found out that girls would rather show a blank screen instead of showing the mistakes in their codes. It was something that I had experience with my other classmates too. Unlike most of the boys in my class at that time, who were proud to show the mistakes in their codes, most the girls in my class were the complete opposite. I witnessed this not only during my school days but even in my work life.
There was a vague line that women didn’t want to cross when it came to technology. The concept that a computer was somehow made for men not women. A statistic shows that 55% of both twitter and facebook users are women. The same statistic also shows that only 25% of IT Jobs are held by women and 28% are for proprietary software jobs. Though the number of women who are breaking down walls in the technology industry is increasing; the increment is not so significant either — 18- 20% of engineering students are women and only 5% of tech startup are owned by women. From those numbers, we can clearly see the gender gap in technology is higher than any other field and it’s something that needs our immediate attention.
By 2020 we will have 1.4 million jobs open in computer science, yet we’ll have enough qualified graduates to fill just 29% percent of them — with less than 3% will be filled by women. We have to motivate women to enter these fields well before they are starting high school and college with these following steps :
- Start Educating
Coding is a critical skill when it comes to technology field, especially computer science. The concept behind coding is conditioning one’s mind to consider challenges and problem-solving in a creative way. Simply put, it’s a way of creating new ideas. Just as other subjects like Physics, Calculus or History, coding will impart different ways of thinking.
The message we need to convey is not that girls (or boys) should study computer science as a narrow means to a career end — rather, that the study of computer science is intellectually exciting and stimulating in its own right. It opens the mind to new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
- Become A Mentor
Lack of women leaders in technology is not a culture and we need to stop treating it as one. Male dominated images of programmers from popular culture, the lack of female role models, and broader societal attitudes toward women in tech make careers in our industry unappealing to many young women. We should start treating it like a wake-up call for all women who are already in technology fields, step out and let your voices be heard, let’s motivate our young girls to embrace technology.
- Don’t Limit Our Girls
To embrace the different ways, often coming with new ways of ideas and thinking, we also need to teach our girls that mistakes are necessary. For once they don’t have to be perfect to learn to code and embrace technology. This can only be achieved if we allow our girls to explore more than that the ‘pink aisle’ toy store from earlier ages. Let our girls play with cars as much as we allow our boys too. We have to teach our girls that it is okay to let them make mistakes, that trial and error won’t make them less perfect. Let the girls in your life tinker with things, break toys, get dirty, and fail. And let them know that adversity is common in these fields. Learning from and moving past failure is part of the design process.
Featured Image via projectrnz