I'm a grandmother and I've been in IT for decades. No, I have not seen any obstacles in my career that hint a bias against women. However, I also feel there is a lack of female presence in the industry. I live in a small town in Wisconsin and have been asked to speak to high school classes about women in IT (by a woman teaching IT) and I have seen a decided lack of interest on the part of the young women attending. In fact, I got the impression that they were there only because attendance is required.
The real issue is this; how do we foster interest in the girls who are under 12. You are all accepting that by age 12 girls are no longer interested. Why are they not interested? Is it the uncool nerd image of IT personnel? The stereotype that the media uses to portray female computer jockeys? Girls are under a great deal of pressure to be popular and pretty (read princess-like). Parents are still entering their preschool daughters in beauty pageants, for crying out loud. How could a child who is being raised in this type of home aspire to become a nerd??? It goes against everything she has been taught.
When I was in high school, I wanted to take math instead of home economics. My father had to go to the school and force them to allow it. BTW, I graduated in 1970. The world has come a long way since that time. But I feel that girls are still taught to use physical beauty as their primary currency. That is where the change needs to happen. The business world has already accepted women as talented, hard-working people. Now if we can only teach them to accept themselves in the same way!
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