Motivation: Awareness Diversity...Women in Computing!
Our core philosophy it to motivate and increase awareness and diversity in the field of computing, particularly among young women. This is important to us and it should be to you too!
A quantitative survey of 6,009 girls and young women from ages 10-30 examines attitudes towards STEM, school, and the workforce throughout the pipeline. The main findings include:
1) Girls and young women have a hard time picturing themselves in STEM roles. They need more exposure to STEM jobs, female role models, and career awareness and planning;
2) Girls don’t initially see the potential for careers in STEM to be creative or have a positive impact on the world. But even a little exposure to real-world applications of STEM knowledge dramatically changes their outlook;
3) Girls who participate in STEM clubs and activities outside of school are more likely to say they will pursue STEM subjects later in their education. The kinds of experiments and experiences girls are exposed to in these activities can provide insights for how to enhance STEM instruction in the classroom;
4) Encouragement from teachers and parents makes a big difference in girls’ interest in STEM—especially when it comes from both teachers and parents;
5) Educators can foster a “growth mindset” among their female students by tapping into their willingness to work hard for results. Read more…
Mounting evidence showing gender disparity in STEM, including computing, has raised debates on the underlying reason for this gap. Some associate it with social and infrastructural factors, lack of mentors and role models, and lack of awareness about the changing paradigm of this field. Studies indicate that a traditional mindset with thoughts such as 'computing is boring' and 'it's only for boys' plays a major factor in the decision making of young girls when considering a degree and/or career in this field. In today’s world, the computing field is drastically changing to include creativity and multidisciplinary studies. To enhance awareness about this changing field, collaborative projects comprising of researchers and organizations are taking measures to modify classroom curriculum and after school hands-on activities in order to integrate creativity for an effective learning environment.
By changing the traditional mindset and helping with developing appropriate dispositions such as positive self-perceptions and greater confidence, we can help girls to embrace and aspire towards higher education and career opportunities. For example, a recent study's goal was to “inform our work in this area and to share learning with schools, government leaders, nonprofits, employers and others. What we learned is that conditions and context can make a significant difference to girls, young women, and their interest in STEM and the solution doesn’t necessarily require a curricula overhaul".
Also see the study conducted by Microsoft that began with focus groups of 44 middle school and high school girls. The girls shared their views, experiences, and feelings towards STEM in a candid environment, laying the groundwork for a quantitative survey of 6,009 girls and young women from ages 10-30 examining attitudes toward STEM, school and the workforce pipeline. The research was bolstered with a number of interviews with experts dedicated to supporting girls and young women in STEM. Dr.Kesar collaborated on the international research project with Microsoft.