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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Girls and Computers


“…females beginning before adolescence often prefer careers focusing on people, rather than things, aspiring to be physicians, biologists and veterinarians rather than physicists, engineers and computer scientists.” - Cornell Study.

“When I grow up I want to design Grand Theft Auto XXXIII.” - is a line you’ll never hear from little Sally or Suzie. They want to be marine biologists instead.

Is this really true? Or do girls just grow up to accept the myth that because of gender their math and science skills are not as good?

Girls are bombarded with images of perfection from and early age – they must be pretty, sexy and thin but must they also be dumb when they enter math class? Are we teaching girls that knowledge is power and power is unattractive? We have failed as a society if being a math geek (female or male) means you won’t have any friends. But it seems that’s where we are heading. Women now make up less than a quarter of degree holders and of employees, managers, engineers, technicians etc. in the high tech industry.

What’s to be done? Getting women into technology has to begin in early childhood and be supported through grade and high school. Teachers can become more aware of unconscious biases towards girls in their classrooms. They can engage all students equally. They can encourage girls and boys to work in cooperative teams.

OK so maybe Suzie doesn’t really want to design a version of Grand Theft Auto. But a “Feminists Are Funny” game would be awesome.

Here are some cool links to other solutions:

1) MIT’s Women’s Technology Program: To spark high school girls interest in the future study of Engineering and Computer Science.

http://wtp.mit.edu/

2) The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology:

Since 1997, ABI has developed tools and programs designed to help industry, academia and government recruit, retain and develop women technology leaders to ensure that women will assume their rightful place at the table creating the technology of the future.”

http://anitaborg.org/

3) National center for women in technology:

A coalition of over 250 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase the participation of girls and women in computing and IT.

http://www.ncwit.org/

4) Women in Technology Project

Our mission is to build and strengthen the education to workforce pipeline by encouraging girls, women and other underrepresented groups into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

http://www.womenintech.com/

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: www.twitter.com/GuerrillaGsOT

On Another note: We are performing today at Keene State College, New Hampshire. Watch live stream at www.livestream.com on our channel: Guerrilla Girls On Tour

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