“A ship in port is safe, but this is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
That quote is from Grace Hopper, a woman and a pioneer in the world of computer science. Many women have had influence in the world of computer science throughout history, but data now tells a different story.
Fewer and fewer women are entering the field of computer science. Less diversity in the field leads to homogeneous thinking and a hindrance to innovation. As of now, only 20% of the computer science workforce is representing the voices of women.
This leaves women behind the curve in the “new economy” in which advanced computing skills can lead to lucrative careers. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]As of now, only 20% of the computer science workforce is representing the voices of women. [/pullquote]Unfortunately, unless something is done to narrow the gap in the field, it will only add to gender and salary inequalities.
Studies show that gender identity and bias begins early. While we are seeing a shift, a feeling of inadequacy in math and science is still prevalent in young women. Girls often have less exposure to computers and computer science classes throughout their school years. There is also a distinct absence of female role models in the field of computer science..
This is a call to action for all of us, mothers, fathers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians. It is imperative that we begin to reach students beginning as early as Elementary School. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]This is a call to action for all of us, mothers, fathers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians. [/pullquote]Outreach can demystify computer science, inspire budding computer scientists, and stop stereotypes before they are even formed. There are organizations such as Girls Who Code, Made With Code, and Girl Develop It working to reach and mentor young girls. As fierce women, mothers, and advocates, we must put forth our voice as well in support of inspiring the next generation of fierce women in computer science.
Jennifer Ralston Stringer is the founder and a consultant at Square 32 Consulting. Over the past 15 years, Jennifer has gained experience as a Teacher, Administrator, Educational Technology Coordinator, and Professional Development Leader. In 2010, she founded Square 32 Consulting to help schools, parents and educational technology companies understand the changing world of the digital learning age. Her clients have included public and private schools, parent groups, and various educational technology companies.
Meet Jennifer at Square 32 Consulting