Tech Industry Searching for Girls Gone Geek
MSNBC (02/21/10) Tahmincioglu, Eve
The flagging attraction of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions to young women is partly attributed to the geek factor, or the perception of such careers as uncool, socially isolating, and primarily geared toward males.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology estimates that about 17 percent of high school girls take advanced computer science placement exams, which represents the lowest percentage of females among all such tests.
Meanwhile, the number of women earning computer science degrees fell from 37 percent in 1985 to 18 percent in 2008. AT&T Labs researcher Amanda Stent says that “a movement to reclaim the notion of ‘geek’ ” is underway to reverse this trend, and she is a member of a group dedicated to encourage more young women to become passionate about science and technology. Stent stresses that engineers, technologists, and scientists often work in groups and invent community-building, societally beneficial products.