The technology industry is predominantly male centric and can be incredibly toxic to women, but it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, the first computer programmers were women and computer science used to be thought of as “women’s work”, even as late as the 1960s.
Technology has revolutionized society and permeated every single industry. According to Reshma Saujani, the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, “Computing is where the jobs are now and in the future, and girls are being left behind. Today, only 1 in 5 spots in computer science classes are girls. As states expand access to computer science education, we can and must close this gender gap.” It is instrumental in addressing the global shortage of skilled workers
The following graph shows the percentage of women majors by field:
Source: National Science Foundation, American Bar Association, American Association of Medical Colleges
Credit: Quoctrung Bui/NPR
The data here shows that for decades the number of women in computer science was growing quickly up until 1984 when it began to decline. I was wondering what the significance of this year was so I did some research and found that this was roughly around the time that personal computers became a thing. They were marketed as a toy for boys who then became part of the computing revolution and the face of techie culture. This explains why when we picture a computer scientist, we think of a man.
In response to this problem, leaders like Branksome Hall, an all-girls school in Toronto, are trying to shatter the stereotype that girls don’t thrive in science, engineering, and math. “In the past eight years, 23 per cent of our graduating students have gone into STEM-related disciplines at university,” says Heather Friesen, Head of Academics. This is due to the school’s push for robotics in the classroom; students as young as 5 are learning how to code. I highly recommend their technology camps which run all summer.
At Vox ISM, we strive to create an environment that is tolerant and open-minded and we take pride in our efforts for diversity. After speaking with Emma, a female executive at the company, I am confident in our company’s abilities to harness women’s skills and utilize them to their full potential. There are many companies already supporting the Women in Tech movement. Be one of them!