There’s a horribly ironic cycle revolving around women in the STEM fields — particularly in tech.
Because young girls don’t see women in STEM occupations, and because society implies that girls would be better suited for other careers, girls stay away from these fields. So you see, a huge reason women aren’t going into tech is because … women haven’t gone into tech.
Did you know that only 35% of females study STEM fields as their undergraduate major? This number has remained the same over the past decade. What’s worse is that only 18% of this small number of women are studying computer science and engineering.
An impactful approach to encouraging young women to get involved in STEM is to have women role models who are already in that field. If we continue to stay away from STEM fields, especially the tech space, we continue this societal norm that women should not be in these fields.
Women make up half the workforce but their role in STEM, especially the tech space, is few and far between.
Is it any wonder, then, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant all sound female? Yes, Siri has the option to change gender and accents (my Siri is an Australian male) but the iconic Siri voice is female.
Making virtual assistants naturally female is just a small example of a much bigger problem — and one that rarely makes itself known, until it becomes a company-wide fiasco, as seen with Uber.
We are in the midst of the digital industrial age, and the way that technology is shaping our wold is exponential.
If women continue to be deterred from STEM fields and the tech space, the technological architecture of the future will be constructed with hardly any female input.
What will a digitally-dominated world look like when it’s designed almost exclusively by men?
If we want to make the tech sector and STEM fields empowering for women, women need to join it!
Something that’s assumed as common knowledge and hardly explained is that: the major your choose and the career field you go into will be how you spend the better half of your life.
If you’re interested in science, technology, engineering and/or math you should study it!!
No matter what field you choose to study, or what career field you go into, it’s going to be work. You’ll spend the majority of your days immersed in it, practicing it, and trying to grow within it.
When I was in college my twin brother and I went to a Computer Information Science fair, where they encouraged undergraduates to study CIS. The speakers talked about how CIS is a booming industry with a plethora of jobs waiting fresh graduates.
We both left there amazed! My brother promptly changed his major to Computer Information Science, and is now a successful software developer.
Out of intimidation and fear of failure, I stayed as far away as I could from CIS. I now work in the field of social innovation and thus ended up in the tech industry.
I have less advantages in the tech space than my brother. Not because he’s a male and I’m a female, but because of my lack of technical education (which I would have got, if I had changed my major).
For your best interest, go into a field that you’re curious or passionate about. Don’t worry what anyone else is going to think. Don’t assume you’re going to fail because social norms tell you that you’d be better off as a teacher, or a lawyer or as nurse.
Go after the career you want because it’s your life, and it’s your happiness on the line!