girls technology

5 reasons girls don’t pursue technology-related careers


Why aren't more girls interested in core technology courses and careers?

Exposing girls to technology early, along with having parents and role models support girls’ interest in technology-related hobbies and career paths, can help encourage more girls to pursue technology in and after college, according to data from CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the technology industry.

More than 5.1 million people worked in core technology jobs in the U.S. at the end of 2015, but just 25 percent of those jobs were held by women.

CompTIA-commissioned research, based on a survey and focus groups of girls between the ages of 10 and 17, identifies several critical factors that discourage girls from considering careers in tech.

CompTIA’s Make Tech Her Story: What Needs to Change to Inspire Girls’ Pursuit of IT Careers, an e-book and companion website, are the centerpieces of a new awareness campaign to inspire tech industry leaders, educators, parents and, most importantly, girls to make the industry more gender inclusive.

Next page: Five ways girls are discouraged from technology-related studies

“Achieving greater gender diversity in our industry requires major changes in the ways girls interact with and learn about technology,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA. “It will take a concerted, collaborative effort and long-term commitment by parents and role models, teachers and counselors and, most importantly, industry mentors, who can convey their passion about working in tech to future generations.”

1. Parents play a key role in introducing technology – Girls and boys agree that parents and guardians are the primary source for finding out what IT stands for. But boys are more likely to begin using mobile devices at an earlier age, at five years old or younger, than girls (11 percent vs. 5 percent). Boys are also slightly more likely to explore the inner workings of tech devices out of curiosity (36 percent vs. 30 percent of girls).

2. Girls’ interest in technology lessens with age – Nearly half of boys have considered a tech career, compared to less than one-quarter of girls. Among middle school girls, 27 percent have considered a career in technology. By high school this figure drops to 18 percent.

3. Tech classes aren’t enough –Girls who have taken a technology class are only slightly more likely to have considered an IT career (32 percent). Less than half of girls who’ve taken these courses are confident their skills are right for the job.

4. Girls lack awareness about career opportunities – Of girls who have not considered an IT career, 69 percent attribute this to not knowing what opportunities are available to them. More than half (53 percent) say additional information about career options would encourage them to consider a job in IT.

5. Girls need role models in the industry – Just 37 percent of girls know of someone with an IT job. This rises to 60 percent among girls who have considered an IT career.

Women have played essential and vital roles throughout the history of computing and technology, from pioneering programmers such as Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper and the ENIAC Girls, to today’s leaders at Facebook, YouTube, HP, Alphabet, Xerox and other companies.

“There are young women and girls in colleges, high schools, middle schools and grade schools that, with the right education and guidance, will be equally capable of doing great things,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry research CompTIA. “Our responsibility is to encourage them and to help them reach their full potential.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione

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