Viewpoints: Why Aren’t More ‘Techies’ Women?
Sacramento Bee (CA) (11/29/09) P. 5E; Strange, Elena
Although technology jobs have become increasingly popular as a result of the recession, young women are still not choosing careers in technology, writes Silicon Valley computer scientist Elena Strange. A recent ACM study found that high school girls do not see computer science as an attractive field, and only 32 percent of college-bound girls see computer science as a “good” or “very good” college major.
Additionally, only 9 percent of girls believe that computer science is a very good career choice, compared to 28 percent of boys. Strange says computer science professionals and organizations need to do more to encourage girls to pursue computer science, not only to strengthen the industry but because many girls would enjoy computer science if exposed to it in the right way.
Strange notes studies predicting that more than 1 million tech jobs will be added to the economy between 2004 and 2014, and she says technology workers are vital to the success of the U.S. economy.
Events such as Expanding Your Horizons, in which computer scientists and mathematicians encourage girls to study and pursue math and science careers, expose girls to the numerous opportunities available in computer science that they might otherwise have never experienced. Strange says that workshops can demonstrate the variety of work available in the field and get girls interested in the underlying science.