Katherine B.

Building Confidence in Women in Tech Industries

The Problem

 

One of the biggest problems facing the technology industry today is that there simply aren’t enough women entering and staying in the field. The number of female graduates with computer science or engineering degrees has decreased in recent years, resulting in a lack of women holding positions in these industries. One reason for this problem could be because of the stereotypical “bro culture” that is said to exist in these industries and women’s fear that they won’t be able to fit in. This leads women to feel out of place in the industry,, causing many to leave once they have entered. Another reason could be because of imposter syndrome. This causes women to feel that they don’t belong in STEM classes or careers, causing them to leave these industries and decreasing the amount of women in these careers.

The Goal

The goal for this problem is to increase women’s confidence and assure them that they do in fact belong in these tech fields. According to a recent study from Harvard Business School, 56% if women who enter the field will leave by mid career (Miller, 2014). This could be due to the fact that women are afraid to enter the stereotypical “bro culture” that is believed to exist in these fields. The stereotypical computer scientists are antisocial men who have trouble relating to women and interacting with other people (Cheryan, 2013). Women are afraid that they do not fit the qualifications to be a computer scientist, making them feel like they don’t belong in the field or STEM classes. In a statement from a New York Times article, the technology is described as a man dominated atmosphere saying, “It’s a boys’ club, and you have to try to get into it, and they’re trying as hard as they can to prove you can’t” (Miller, 2014). Women are fearful that they cannot relate to the “bro culture” that is portrayed by the media, making them turn away from technology industries and programming startups. In order to eliminate this problem, women need to have better mentors to demonstrate that they can be successful in this industry and progress in these careers.

Another goal is to eliminate imposter syndrome for women, especially through their education. Imposter syndrome is defined as “occurring when a person is actually doing fine, yet they feel that they don’t have the capabilities to succeed as well as others around them, making them feel like an imposter” (Warrell, 2014). According to a recent study, only 18% of computer science graduates are women, which is a decrease from 35% in the past thirty years (Miller, 2014). In order to increase women graduates in STEM fields and increase the number of women in technology fields, we need to be able to alleviate imposter syndrome and build women’s confidence in their ability to succeed in the tech industry.

The Solution

The solution to this problem would be to target girls from a young age, building their confidence early and lessening their fear of failure from an early developmental stage in their lives. In order to do this, I believe that a social media campaign would be effective targeting young girls on the popular social media site, Instagram. The social media campaign would feature inspiration quotes that build confidence in young girls and increase interest in technology and STEM fields. This would encourage them to pursue these fields throughout their educational careers and could lead to a later career in one of these fields. Another important component of the campaign would be to feature successful women in the technology industry to serve as strong mentors for these young girls. This would show them an example that it is possible to be successful in tech industries and lead them to gain the confidence to pursue these careers themselves. The campaign would also feature camps and workshops that introduce girls to technology and STEM fields at an early age, providing them the opportunity to get started in these fields.

I think that the main solution to the problem of a lack of women in the tech industry and women leaving these fields is to build confidence in women’s abilities to succeed. By doing this from an early age, we would be more likely to give young girls this confidence and have them keep it throughout their careers. By building confidence in women to succeed, they will believe in themselves and be able to achieve success in technology and STEM careers.

Works Cited

Cheryan, S., Plaut, V., Handron, C., & Hudson, L. (2013). The Stereotypical

Computer Scientist: Gendered Media Representations as a Barrier to Inclusion for Women. Springer Science & Business Media.

Harris, N., Kruck, S., Cushman, P., & Anderson, R. (2009). Technology Majors: Why Are Women Absent? Journal of Computer Information Systems.

Miller, C. (2014, April 5). Technology’s Man Problem. New York Times.

Warrell, M. (2014, April 3). Afraid Of Being ‘Found Out?’ How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome. Forbes.

My Experience with Javascript

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When we were first given tho assignment, I admit I was a little frightened because I had never coded once in my life. When I first got on the Code Academy website, I had no idea which code language to choose, so I just randomly picked one and ended up with Javascript, which I soon learned was quite confusing. I was however fairly surprised with how simple the tutorial made the program because when it came to coding, I had no idea what I was in for. The first few steps were fairly easy, prompting me to do simple math or type my name. The tutorial got trickier as I went, but I was able to finish all twenty-eight steps.

Although I would not consider doing more of the tutorials using Javascript on Code Academy, I would consider trying a different coding language through the website tutorials. I found the tutorials simple and easy to understand, even giving me hints when I got stuck or frustrated. If someone was wanting to learn to code, I would highly recommend this website because even with no experience in coding, I was able to pick it up pretty quickly using the tutorial. I think it is a great way for people to gain experience with coding, even if they have none, because of the step by step tutorials that gave review sections throughout. I found these helpful in my experience because I quickly learned how easy it was to forgot the dialect or punctuation needed to get the code to respond correctly. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to any other beginners who are interested in learning what coding is all about!

1900s

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Photo courtesy of Original Buzz. For more info on the history of the vacuum cleaner, visit Original Buzz

 The first vacuum cleaner was invented in 1901 by Hubert Cecil Booth. Although the invention was supposed to be an easy tool to aid in housework, the first design was too big to fit in a regular home and had to be completely redesigned in the next year.

 

 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Samantha Jones Personal Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/269793833900114871/

The image shows Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland and her daughter attending the first Ladies Automobile Club meeting in 1903. The club was formed in response to the Royal Automobile Club refusing to let females join. More information can be found in this chapter from The Car and British Society: Class, Gender, and Motoring.

photo posted on post-gazette.com

Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Post Gazzete, circa 1955

In 1905, the first nickelodeon was opened to the public costing only a nickel to view a film. Above, Cynthia Hahn, granddaughter of John P. Harris, operates the first nickelodeon invented by her grandfather. For further reading on the history of the Nickelodeon, visit Pittsburg’s Post-Gazzette’s website.

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a73a2ef5970b-1Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles Time, circa 1909.

In 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey along with three other women began a cross country road trip across the United States in one of Ford’s first model T cars. The photo above shows the group on their trip. To learn more about Alice Huyler Ramsey and her expedition, visit  blogger Rebecca Hensley’s page.

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Photo Courtesy of Kheel Center, Circa 1900.

The image above shows women at work using sewing machines in the textile industry during the early 1900s. With the development of the sewing machine, the garment manufacturing industry nearly doubled between 1900 and 1910. For more information on the invention of the sewing machine, visit the International Sewing Machine Collector’s Society official website.