In the tech world, the gender gap is still alive and well with far more men entering the computer and tech fields than their women counterparts. In fact, even at Microsoft, based in the progressive Seattle, Washington, female workers only make up 26 percent of their total workforce. Unfortunately, the barriers start in childhood, keeping girls from engaging with computers from an early age and majoring in technology subjects in college.
Barriers Women Face in the Tech Industry
Starting from a young age, the barriers in the tech world begin to appear for girls. These barriers tend to continue through adulthood for many, keeping them from ever exploring computers or other tech subjects.
Limits from Gender Stereotypes
Personal perceptions about gender and its stereotype can leave girls with arbitrary limits on their abilities. These gender stereotypes often position girls as generally inferior to boys in math, engineering and computer science subjects, causing self-esteem to plummet while learning these subjects. By lifting gender stereotypes, it is possible to give girls an even playing ground during their initial discovery of the tech world and beyond.
Entering a male dominated field can feel intimidating at best to girls who want to learn more about tech subjects. This feeling can be compounded by gender stereotype barriers that make it difficult to connect on a one to one level with classmates and colleagues alike. This barrier will naturally resolve as more women enter the tech world and encourage young girls to do the same in the future.
Fewer Peer Mentorship Opportunities
Powerful women in tech, such as Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Susan Wojcicki of YouTube, are helping to pave the way for more women to enter the tech world. However, until more women join them, peer mentorship opportunities for girls and young women will remain few and far between. With minimal women in the tech field, there are just not enough mentors to go around. Online mentorship projects hope to bridge the gap and give women access to peer mentors, but enrollment numbers are slow to grow.
How to Help Girls Overcome the Barrier and Learn to Love Tech Subjects
With so many amazing opportunities to improve our world with technology, the tech field can benefit from women bringing their ideas and skills to the table. All this starts with encouraging girls to engage with computers and explore tech subjects from a young age. Girls need support to confidently approach tech subjects of all kinds, including computer coding and programming.
You can help the girls in your life learn to love computers and all things tech with skill building enrichment activities from Math Genie. These activities give everyone the educational building blocks and confidence they need to excel in all computer and technology subjects.