13 votes

How to Create Events to Help Girls Prepare for STEM Careers

8 comments

  1. gergir
    Link
    My mother was a computer cryptography and security specialist, wrote several Unix or Linux devicedrivers for fun when she was around 14. She said that in the upper or advanced echelons of...

    My mother was a computer cryptography and security specialist, wrote several Unix or Linux devicedrivers for fun when she was around 14. She said that in the upper or advanced echelons of computing, there's no difficulty for anyone to participate, provided they're able. All merit.

    Girls don't need help, really. Or any special attention; only acceptance.

    3 votes
  2. [7]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    Mildly offtopic but why are women in STEM treated separately? I thought the leading philosophy in STEM (or more specifically tech) was that all people are the same and we are hellbent on...

    Mildly offtopic but why are women in STEM treated separately? I thought the leading philosophy in STEM (or more specifically tech) was that all people are the same and we are hellbent on meritocracy or at least smart enough to not judge people for something they couldn't control like race,wealth or gender. Did men fail to hold up their end of the bargain? Are we encouraging women to enter STEM to attempt to get a 50/50 participation from both sexes (which probably originates in bad parents, way before anything like this pops up in them)?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      I think the problem some have is that the field is dominated by men, so having events for just girls may help them feel more accepted and not awkward about going. Just because a group is receiving...

      I think the problem some have is that the field is dominated by men, so having events for just girls may help them feel more accepted and not awkward about going. Just because a group is receiving help doesn't mean they are being favored or anything (I don't think you are saying that BTW, just statement I have).

      11 votes
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Oh ok, that makes sense. Being in a workplace filled with people of the opposite gender isn't very good if you're awkward like most people working in tech.

        Oh ok, that makes sense. Being in a workplace filled with people of the opposite gender isn't very good if you're awkward like most people working in tech.

        1 vote
    2. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I had a friend in college who was a female computer science major. I remember her telling me about the time she attended a recruitment meeting for an extracurricular coding organization. She said...

      I had a friend in college who was a female computer science major. I remember her telling me about the time she attended a recruitment meeting for an extracurricular coding organization. She said that, when she walked in to the room, it was like time stopped. Everyone there stopped what they were doing and silently stared at her. One man then informed her, "you're the first girl to ever walk through that door."

      This was merely one of many times she was treated like a unicorn instead of a human being in her field. She talked about how she was always singled out. Guys would put her on a pedestal or hit on her or make awkward comments to her or belittle her or question her abilities or any number of other actions that were based on her gender and not her role as one of their peers. She didn't want any of that. She just wanted to learn how to write good code and turn that into a fulfilling career -- same as everyone else in her major.

      She didn't go back to the coding club after that first meeting. Even though on paper the organization was open to anyone, in reality it was male-only. We admire trailblazers who make names for themselves as the "first" something, and she could have done so as the first woman in that group, but she likely chose against joining for very good and very valid reasons. Furthermore, there's a hidden inequity here that has nothing to do with her decision and everything to do with the imposition put upon her: why is it fair that she even has to trailblaze in the first place?

      By making an effort to pave the way for girls to enter STEM careers, we're not only helping them with their potential future jobs, we're also sending the message to everyone else that they belong there in the first place. When my friend walked into that group meeting, everyone turned and saw her as a woman first, and then a potential coding club member second (if at all). It should be the other way around, and gender-specific messaging helps create that kind of environment. "Everyone can be a coder" is economical and certainly correct, but it doesn't specifically create room for women -- room that is very much still needed.

      10 votes
    3. [3]
      skullkid2424
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The two reason I tend to hear are... Counteracting some of the things that make the tech scene male-dominated. The less its seen as an all male scene, the more likely it is that younger folks...

      The two reason I tend to hear are...

      1. Counteracting some of the things that make the tech scene male-dominated. The less its seen as an all male scene, the more likely it is that younger folks looking at tech degrees will be a bit more balanced, which will feed into the future hiring pool.

      2. Diverse viewpoints can have significant positive impact on certain areas. Especially when it comes to design and user testing, a team of all males (or one dimensional in any number of ways) may simply not know to consider something that might apply to others. A commonly cited example is that seatbelts were originally created by all-male teams and didn't take the average female frame into account for testing. This may not come into play for all positions/teams, but can definitely make a difference for customer-facing work.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        I wonder where would this apply in flat software? (Not all of STEM though)

        Diverse viewpoints can have significant positive impact on certain areas. Especially when it comes to design and user testing, a team of all males (or one dimensional in any number of ways) may simply not know to consider something that might apply to others. A commonly cited example is that seatbelts were originally created by all-male teams and didn't take the average female frame into account for testing. This may not come into play for all positions/teams, but can definitely make a difference for customer-facing work.

        I wonder where would this apply in flat software? (Not all of STEM though)

        1. skullkid2424
          Link Parent
          I would imagine that UI/UX is going to be the main area - but there may be general use cases that simply aren't considered.

          I would imagine that UI/UX is going to be the main area - but there may be general use cases that simply aren't considered.