Participation of Girls in ICT continues to grow in main US universities
According to a recent article published by Tech Crunch, male domination over STEM related courses seems to be coming to an end in top US schools. Universities such as UC Berkeley, Stanford or Harvey Mudd College have significantly increased the amount of girls enrolled in computer science and engineering majors during the last five years. Moreover, Georgia Tech, which 60 years ago had no undergraduate women students, today had its highest proportion of female students making up 41% of the incoming class.
Based on the experience of these institutions, adapting the curriculum to be more inclusive, changing the name of the courses, hiring a higher number of female faculty and tailored outreach are some of the strategies that seem to be effective for attracting more women into ICT studies. Another relevant factor that should be taken into consideration is that the growing amount of women in tech role models contributes to growth in the market, a stronger workforce and thus more attraction of girls to study STEM related careers.
However, it has also been argued that the main factor that refrain women from going into tech could be their early education. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), social and environmental factors such as negative stereotypes contribute to the lack of interest of girls in STEM fields. It is argued that sometimes science and technology careers are simply disregarded as an option for them.
In order to tackle this disparity and drive more girls into technology and science related fields, several public, civil and private training initiatives are taking place worldwide. In 2016 during the International Girls in ICT Day organized by the International Telecommunication Union, more than 66,000 girls and young women took part over 1,900 celebrations in 138 countries worldwide.
Furthermore, several organizations are currently promoting a wide range of events, hackathons, coding bootcamps and diverse ICT training initiatives day by day. Some examples from the US are Code.org Hour of Code campaign, Girls Who Code, Engineering Girl and Black Girls Code, Girls In Tech and Google’s Made With Code initiative, among others.
Additional Sources: Tech Crunch