The world of technology is rapidly advancing, and it is crucial that the workforce reflects the diversity of the society it serves, particularly when it comes to girls in technology. According to data from the U.S. Census, the number of women working in STEM has significantly increased over the years. In 1970, they only made up 8% of the STEM workforce, but by 2019, that number had grown to 28%. However, even though there has been progressing, there is still a noticeable disparity between men and women in the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft) workforce.
Women and girls in technology only make up between 28% and 42% of employees in top companies, with an average of 31%. It is important to continue advocating for girls in technology and creating opportunities for them to pursue careers in this field.
This gender gap is not only an issue of fairness and equality; it also has significant economic consequences. A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
Therefore, it is crucial to have girls in technology sphere. Here are the top eight strategies for success.
Encourage girls to participate in STEM-related activities
One way to spark an interest in technology is to encourage girls to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities. Many schools and community organizations offer STEM programs, such as robotics clubs, coding camps, and science fairs. These activities allow girls to learn about technology in a hands-on, engaging way.
It is essential to expose girls to these opportunities early on, as research shows that interest in STEM subjects often wanes during middle school. By introducing girls to STEM early, they are more likely to develop a passion for technology that will carry them through high school and into their careers.
Provide female role models
One reason girls may be hesitant to pursue careers in technology is the lack of female role models in the industry. Girls need to see women who have succeeded in technology careers, so they know that it is possible.
Parents, educators, and community organizations can help by introducing girls to female role models in technology. This could include inviting female technology professionals to speak at school or community events or arranging job shadowing opportunities for girls interested in technology careers.
Teach coding and other technology skills
Coding is a fundamental skill for anyone interested in a technology career, and it is never too early to start learning. Many organizations offer coding classes for kids, including Coding Girls, Girls Who Code, and Black Girls Code.
Parents and educators can also encourage girls to explore coding through online resources, such as Codecademy or Khan Academy. By learning to code, girls gain valuable skills that can help them succeed in technology careers.
Address gender bias and stereotypes
Gender bias and stereotypes can discourage girls from pursuing careers in technology. Many girls may think that the tech industry is a “boys’ club” and feel unwelcome. It is important to address these biases and create a welcoming environment for girls in technology.
Parents, educators, and community organizations can play a significant role in encouraging girls to pursue their interests in technology. They can help girls speak up when they encounter bias or stereotypes and create a culture that values diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry.
Create opportunities for hands-on learning
Girls learn best when they have the opportunity to learn by doing. Therefore, it is essential to create opportunities for hands-on learning in technology. This could include coding workshops, hackathons, or other technology-focused events.
By providing hands-on learning opportunities, girls can gain confidence in their technology skills and see how they can apply those skills in real-world situations.
Encourage girls to pursue internships and mentorships
Internships and mentorships are valuable opportunities for girls interested in technology careers. These programs provide real-world experience and allow girls to connect with professionals in the industry.
Parents, educators, and community organizations can help by encouraging girls to pursue internships and mentorships in technology. They can also work to create programs that provide these opportunities for girls.
Girls in technology – Pursue degrees and certifications
To succeed in a technology career, it is often necessary to have a degree or certification in a relevant field. However, girls may face additional barriers to pursuing these degrees or certifications, such as a lack of access to resources or encouragement from family and educators.
Parents, educators, and community organizations can help by providing information about technology degrees and certifications and encouraging girls to pursue them. They can also work to create programs that provide financial assistance or other resources to help girls succeed in technology education.
Foster a supportive community
Finally, it is essential to foster a supportive community for girls in technology. This could include creating technology clubs or groups at school or in the community or connecting girls with technology-focused organizations or professionals.
By creating a supportive community, girls in technology can find encouragement and support as they pursue their careers. This community can also provide valuable networking opportunities and connections that can help girls succeed in the industry.
In conclusion, empowering girls to pursue technology careers is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. By encouraging girls to participate in STEM activities, providing girls in technology role models, teaching coding and other technology skills, addressing gender bias and stereotypes, creating opportunities for hands-on learning, encouraging internships and mentorships, supporting girls in pursuing technology degrees and certifications, and fostering a supportive community, we can help girls succeed in technology careers and close the gender gap in the industry. Together, we can create a brighter future for girls in the technology industry as a whole.