It is no news that the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are male-dominated. Statistics prove that women only occupy 28% of jobs in STEM. This gap is even more evident in engineering and computer science fields. The National Science Foundation, in 2015, also mentioned that women earned less than 20% of degrees in computer science and engineering.
Science-related jobs have always been considered a “man’s job”, so women lose confidence in themselves and pursue ‘easier’ and non-technical positions. Gender inequity has always been a topic of controversy for many decades now. This subtle prejudice against women’s abilities to perform in Tech positions has led many goal-driven women, including Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Debbie Joy, Rebecca Cole, Cecilia Payne, Katherine Johnson, and Susan Kare, among others.
Today, more women are now involved in STEM more than ever. Women are creating a new narrative for themselves and setting the pace for young women to pursue a career in Computer Science, Engineering, and other STEM-related fields. This is why it is important to empower girls in computer science, empower girls to code, and empower girls in engineering and other STEM-related fields.
Computer science, engineering, and programming are fields dominated by men. It has become a natural phenomenon that young girls refer to certain roles as “a boy’s job”. The origin of this gender discrimination dates back many centuries ago. To balance this inequality and encourage more women to participate in the sciences, we have to begin by empowering girls in computer science.
When young girls are allowed to learn computer science and coding, they will be able to make better career choices truly based on their interests and not just on limited exposure. There are several girl-coding clubs and computer science programs aimed at equipping young girls to code and thrive in the STEM world. These programs and clubs help to bridge the gap in women’s involvement in STEM.
We live in a highly tech-dependent and digital world. Technological and digital literacy is important for anyone who wants to build an exceptional career. This paradigm shift in societal gender construct and roles has caused many women and girls to develop confidence in themselves. A lot of women are coming out and building a career around computer science and coding. To empower girls in computer science, parents and teachers need to start by developing girls' interests in Math and science.
Teachers can also organize workshops for girls and connect them with women who are thriving in computer science and coding. This will boost little girls’ confidence in themselves and encourage them to pursue a career in STEM. By addressing the root of this gap- the idea that computer science, engineering, math, and coding fields are meant for boys only- we are boosting girls’ confidence and allowing them to also thrive in the STEM environment.
Beyond creating more career opportunities for women, empowering girls in computer science and coding creates a better work environment for all. It will also bridge the gender gap and augment women’s earnings by a large percentage. More women in STEM also enhance workplace diversity and creates a balance in the work environment in general. When men and women are given equal chances in the scientific sphere to contribute to the progress of these scientific and technological advancements, then bigger, better, and more sustainable progressive ideas will be abundant.
The 21st century is an era for girls and STEM. With the influx of young girls in STEM, the future will be occupied by a more significant number of women. The only way to curb this prejudice young girls have toward STEM-related subjects is to educate them on the importance of STEM, and more importantly, the significance of women in STEM.
Here are five steps parents and educators need to take to ensure the growth of STEM for girls.
Early Exposure to STEM
The best way to make a child follow a particular career path is through childhood exposure. Children cannot think outside the knowledge they receive, and what they learn in their formative years will highly influence their future career choices. Exposing girls to computer science, math, and technology in the classroom will help develop their interests in those fields and encourage them to build their careers in STEM.
Participation in Workshops
Many organizations, like Juni, organize boot camps and special workshops to empower girls to code and participate in STEM. Young girls can connect with female role models in STEM to serve as a motivation that women can thrive in tech. Girls can also connect with female mentors who will guide them through their chosen fields. Communicating with like-minds, collaborating with others, and having access to successful women in STEM will give young girls a sense of purpose and encourage them to take the bold step!
Build Gender Equity and Confidence
Educators need to build self-confidence in young girls to destroy the ugly narrative that the difficult subjects are meant for boys alone. Who says a girl cannot be an architect, engineer, or scientist? Young girls need to understand that their only limitation is their minds and that they can also be empowered to succeed in whatever STEM career path they choose.
Educators need to empower young girls to code in order for them to participate in the STEM world, which is dominated by men. To change this stereotype, girls need to be equipped early enough to develop their confidence and motivate them to pursue careers in STEM.
Empowering Young Girls in STEM
Here are the top 5 resources to empower young girls in computer science and coding.
STEM Like a Girl
This program is targeted toward young girls from kindergarten to build an identity in STEM. The primary objective of STEM like a girl is to empower girls and build their confidence to become problem solvers. Through organizing workshops, parent engagement, and female mentors, many girls can have access to the exciting world of STEM.
Techbridge Girls aims not only to empower young girls to code but to also equip instructors with gender equity and curriculum training that give them the ability to encourage and train young girls in STEM. It is a known fact that black people face discrimination in general, so SciGirls has created a section to give young girls the opportunity to build a future in STEM.
The National Girls Collaborative Project
The NGCP is an NGO charitable organization that strengthens other organizations to inform, encourage, and empower girls in computer science. By collaborating with other organizations with shared interests, the NGCP believes that they will be able to maximize access to shared resources and strengthen the impact of existing and budding projects. The general idea behind the NGCP is to promote equity and encourage girls to pursue careers in computer science, technology, engineering, and math.
This is an amazing non-profit organization that empowers not just young girls, but women and men to pursue careers in STEM. Although the primary aim is to end the marginalization of females in the workspace. ChickTech provides networking and mentoring opportunities for young girls and women in STEM. Some of their programs include ChickTech for high school, college, adults, summer workshops, and seminars, all of which aim to change the narrative and bring more people, especially young girls, into science and tech.
This is an awesome program that empowers young girls in computer science and STEM. Using a gamified mode, girls and other students can explore various practical examples of what a career in STEM feels like. For instance, the Cool Science Careers game allows students to explore what their chosen careers would look like through various online activities and games. They can explore as many STEM career paths as they want until they are satisfied.
Frequently Asked Questions
Women are underrepresented in computer science and other STEM fields worldwide. It is mostly believed that men should do the math and sciences, while women should choose less scientific fields like the arts and social sciences. The current percentage of women in computer science is only 20%.
Just like any other subject, computer science is a perfect career choice for girls. Computer science jobs are highly needed in our society, and people with computer science and coding skills earn a significantly higher price compared to those in other non-technical fields.
The narrative is changing, and young girls need to be empowered to achieve the unusual- choose a career in STEM. The idea that engineering, scientific, and technological fields are only meant for guys hardly holds water today. Parents need to encourage their girl-child to develop interests in STEM.
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