Catherine Ashcraft, senior research scientist at the Colorado center, said, “it appears on the surface that women aren’t choosing” technology, but “there are a lot of factors that are influencing that choice.” She continued: “Girls talk about how even when there’s a computer in the house, they don’t get access to it as much, because the boys are pushing them away.”
Subtle, even unconscious bias can prompt parents, teachers and guidance counselors to give the sexes different study and career advice, she said.
On top of that, those in the field say, computer curriculums on both sides of the Atlantic bore pupils of both sexes with a focus on how to use Microsoft Word or create a spreadsheet. Topics like programming and design, advocates argue, are more likely to engage a generation that imbibed basic skills as toddlers, and to improve Western ability to compete with Asian nations that often give far stronger grounding in such subjects.
Stagnant or declining enrollment in math, science and computing “is a general concern, regardless of gender,” Ms. Ashcraft said. “The situation is even more dramatic for girls.”
Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is courtesy of Ryan Smith, co-founder and C.E.O. of “Qualtrics”, a provider of online survey research platforms. More of his business advice here, from the New York Times “Corner Office” Series.
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