I am an IT recruiter. I am not a developer nor do I plan on becoming one, however, I do enjoy attending various user groups to meet people and to learn things about technology that can help me understand more about what I am recruiting for. One thing that I learned along the way is the lack of women in technology. Research by Girls Who Code tells us that 74 percent of girls in middle school express interest in STEM subjects but only .4 percent of high school girls choose computer science as a college major. Only 18 percent of computer science graduates are women.
“Only 11 percent of all engineers in the U.S. are women, according to Department of Labor. The situation is a better among computer programmers, but not much. Women account for only 26 percent of all American coders.” – Wired
There has been enough research to support that a diverse workplace gets better results and guarantees a wider range of experience and views. Nationally speaking, only 28.8 percent of the workforce is women in STEM fields (Status of Women Data). One of the reasons is because the male dominated environment can be a scary place for women. It is hard to survive when the majority of your classmates, colleagues, and mentors are all males. There is also the gender based stereotype that men are better at technology jobs.
Many times when young girls express an interest in the STEM areas there is lack of support from their parents, as well as a lack of support from educators in many cases. This can happen especially in schools that do not have the resources to support computer science classes. Many do not have the teachers or the computers necessary to teach a large group of children, so some may be discouraged from taking these classes. There is an increase in the need for computer skills in today’s workforce which has pushed the U.S. government to create guidelines, such as the Core Curriculum Content Standards, to ensure that students are prepared to meet the demands of the twenty first century. So there is a realization of the importance in schools, but we are unable to educate girls fast enough to fill the needs of today.
So how can we help encourage young girls to get into technology? Locally here in Omaha, the University of Nebraska at Omaha has a “Women in IT Initiative” that is working with schools in Nebraska to encourage girls to pursue an education in the STEM fields. Another non-profit organization, Bricklayer, is working with classrooms regionally to offer resources to kids wanting to learn code. It is important for these types of organizations to succeed to fill the gap of women in technology in the future. There are many national and local organizations that are inspiring girls to pursue their dreams. These are just a few that I have had the privilege of hearing their missions. Please check your local area for groups and resources.
Holly has been with Aureus Group since November 2016 and is currently an IT Recruiter. With more than 10 years of experience in the staffing industry, she is passionate about changing people’s lives. Holly is married with a 9 year old son and loves anything you can do outdoors – camping, hiking, swimming, and fishing. She is originally from Wisconsin so she is a die hard Packers and Badgers fan.