How Girls Hold Themselves Back from Pursuing Computer Science [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Girls Hold Themselves Back from Pursuing Computer Science [INFOGRAPHIC]

This girls in technology infographic shows that social perceptions are powerful in holding girls back from pursuing computer science careers. At Play-i, we’re passionate about introducing girls to programming at a young age. Our fun, hands-on way to control the world around them shows the possibilities of the amazing things they can do with technology.

Changing the ratio starts with changing your perception. Help inform others about the misconceptions that hold girls back from pursuing computer science and what they can do about it.

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27 thoughts on “How Girls Hold Themselves Back from Pursuing Computer Science [INFOGRAPHIC]

  1. I completely disagree with the title of this infographic and it’s implications. We know that the perceptions mentioned exist, but arguably the problem is not the girls holding *themselves* back, but the culture around computer science in general.

    • Hey Alistair, I do agree that the title missed the mark and should have had a more positive spin. We didn’t mean to put the blame on girls but merely to highlight the social and cultural factors that discourage girls from pursuing computer science.

  2. As a web app dev myself, I personally don’t think our industry is actually doing much to benefit people really anywhere. To say nothing of online video games, major social networks, massive government spying, etc., which have served to erode away people’s ability and desire to make lasting interpersonal connections with each other or have faith in anything anymore, all we’ve really done is produce boxes and forms in your favorite browsers for you to fill in under the name of progress and “making things more convenient”.

    No, if “girls want to help people” then girls should do something they find meaningful and fulfilling in their lives, be it comp sci, writing, or rocket science. Shoehorning girls into a career they may find entirely meaningless and unsatisfying just for the sake of gender equality (or worse, you’re a corporation and you just want more employees so you can push down wages) is rather inhumane.

    • Do you understand that those things are making a tiny fraction of whole world of programming? Programmers also write software that makes possible for planes to fly, for nearly all commerce to function etc. If think that you produce useless crap it doesn’t mean that every other programmer does the same. Also there are lots of very useful web apps and sites.

  3. I’m a former girl in tech, and you missed a huge factor: Family. IT respects workers who can put in long hours and study more at home, and most women, when kids come along, chose not to do that anymore. Companies could retain more women in tech positions of they deemphasized quantity of hours clocked, and recognized quality of output for the hours worked. Every coder knows: more time coding doesn’t always equal better code. Now put that design philosophy into practice.

    • I decided when my daughter was born that she took first place. Since then I’ve told every potential client that I only work my contracted hours except for extreme circumstances – 40 hours max. I’ve just taken 2 months off to look after her in the summer break – I’ll never get another chance to do that again. (In case you’re wondering I work in finance (banks etc) and its NEVER been a problem to do this.)

      My brother does the same, as does a number of other guys who’ve recently become fathers.

      It takes discipline to walk out of the office when every one else is stupid enough to think that pretending to work 80+ hours/week will make them productive (it absolutely doesn’t), get a promotion, whatever. Put family first and you’ve won anyway. The industry will learn eventually, but in the meantime you have to do whats important.

  4. Perhaps a better title for this infographic would be “How girls are discouraged from pursuing technology” — I get that it doesn’t have quite the same ‘ring’ to it, but this infographic inadvertently places some of the blame on girls, which I’m sure is not the message you want to send.

    • Your suggested rewording removes from girls agency, power, and responsibility. Girls who are interested in coding can learn – and there are many people who will help them and support them. Stereotypes will not stop you from opening a code editor, they only have power if you let them!

  5. Love your message and the intent, but am deeply concerned by the title of your infographic. As someone in the classroom actively working on these issues in the community the idea that girls are doing this to themselves is troubling. It is not the fault of a child for absorbing the cultural norms and stereotypes of the broader culture. I can only hope this tone was unintentional.

    • I’m sorry if the tone of the title comes across as blaming the girls. Of course we didn’t mean to do that… more so to empower them by saying that it’s in their control and that they can actually make a difference by being informed about the stereotypes.

  6. So that girls are bad at math is a stereotype, but that boys are not social is not a stereotype? Maybe it is because I am biologically wired to not want to help people, but I don’t understand that logic…

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  8. I understand that it’s not practical to have a proper reference list on an infographic. Could you please publish a detailed reference list for the data used? Thanks in advance.

      • June,

        Sorry you’re getting hammered merely for the title of the article, kind of silly to focus solely on that. The 3 links you cite as your sources are from very (as in extremely) agenda driven organizations. The only accurate observation is the lack of women in CompSci and that comes from counting (i.e., math). I can attest to this having grad and undergrad degrees in CompSci. The remaining info is from surveys about ‘how women feel or think about themselves. Always a hazard and less rigorous than “math.” I volunteer teach middle-schoolers, both boys and girls, and it is in this age group that the stats and my personal observations see the transition of girls. Girls in school get more resources and attention than boys pushing them toward “non-traditional” studies. There is no “National Center for Men and Technology,” or “Boys in Technology” initiatives. The little dudes are left to wing-it on their own. The real change I see is when the hormones hit the girls. Then it’s boys, boys, boys! Some are more outward than others, but the emotions are always there. The intelligent or reserved girls sublimate this through literature, where emotion abounds. Quite unlike any books I know on CompSci or math. By the way, my daughter has several years of college calculus under her belt and she still claims to “hate” math! Maybe, what we are talking about is less ability, and more preference. Maybe, some of it IS biological. Every parent believes in nurture over nature…until their second child.

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  12. I’ve worked at a technology summer camp for seven years and I see an increasing number of girls attend iD Tech Camps every year. I feel opportunities like tech camp promote fun in learning and allow girls and boys to work together sharing ideas and experiences. A number of our instructors are females and they are all very confident and frankly held up on a pedestal by their male counterparts. I love that I work for a company that focuses on “How can you change the story?” and I love that I get to encourage girls to pursue technology each and every summer! Our slogan is Do Something Big and we have many girls who do just that!

  13. Whilst I see much that makes sense in this, article I’m not sure it tells the whole story. I was lucky enough to go to a prestigious university for my engineering degree in the late 80′s. The female intake on that course was a miserable 12%, so a low base. However, what was very noticeable to me was that the women on the course, without exception, picked final specialisms that were less maths orientated and more based around soft skills and knowledge.
    Given these students had had to achieve the very highest grades in high school to even make that course in the first place, and had overcome all that this article mentioned, I remain at a loss to understand what drove this apparent pattern of course selection.
    As a father of a daughter with a real passion for science and technology I really would like to see every barrier removed., and as an employer of engineers it seems sad that so few applicants we see are female.

  14. Hi June,

    Thank you for the infographic and explanation. It’s wonderful that Play-i is backing this effort to teach kids to code and making a special effort to show girls playing with the robots. I am very excited to receive mine in the mail next summer!

    I plan to share this article and hope that Bo and YANA hit the retail shelves soon so people who missed out on the crowdfunding phase can participate.

    Congratulations for hitting your stretch goals!

    P.S. If it isn’t too much trouble to edit the original title of the infographic and post a link to it here, I’d love to see it convey what you meant it to convey.

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  16. Girls are very knowledgable when it comes to technology! I work at VisionTech Camps and we are a great place to sign up for technology summer camps! Whether your kids are just starting to explore technology, or are tech wizards, they will love our summer technology camps . With many STEM camps to explore they are sure to find computer camps that will challenge and inspire them to get excited about something new this summer.

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  18. As someone who operates a computer camp ( http://www.ktbyte.com/camps ), we see more girls than boys at many of our camps. On top of that, girls often perform better than boys in the early material. We do notice a dropoff on those who continue with classes at school. Nevertheless, girls are making there headway, and I expect to see this trend to continue.

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