This guest post was written by Briana Chapman, an NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recipient and leader of one of our pilot AspireIT programs, addressing the lack of women in technology by actively engaging middle school girls with computing.
Last month, we attended and participated in the White House's Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion event. The event recognized individuals for their extraordinary work around expanding technology opportunities for young learners, especially minorities, women and girls, and others from communities historically underserved or underrepresented in tech fields.
On July 31, I attended the White House Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion event at the White House. At the event, I heard the Champions and prominent members in the tech community describe their “spark” moment: a moment when their interest in IT was nurtured through a mentor, experience, or event. I consider going to the Champions of Change event one of my “spark” moments, extending and enhancing my perspective of IT.
If people -- students, in particular -- could understand that programming is a skill, I believe that the stereotypes that exist about computer science and programming would wither. People might understand that computer science is not an end but a means to an end. In fact, computer science can be a means to an end of your choice.
You’ve heard about stereotype threat and how it impacts women’s performance on, say, math tests; but did you know that the impact of stereotype threat disappears when women take a math test using a fake name? A research study recently published in Self and Identity asked 110 women and 72 men to answer 30 multiple choice math questions, priming them beforehand by telling them that men typically outperform women. The authors also asked some of the volunteers to take the test under one of four aliases: Jacob Tyler, Scott Lyons, Jessica Peterson, or Kaitlyn Woods.
Did you know that there are nearly 1 million women in computing occupations in the United States today? Recently we gathered together some demographics on technical women and thought we'd share them with you. Read on for other interesting factoids.
Did you know that last year, only 20 percent of Harvard undergraduates majored in the humanities -- compared with 36 percent in 1954? Last week the American Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, responding to a request from Congress, published a report calling for increased recognition and support for the humanities. “The Heart of the Matter” states three goals that, taken by themselves, might be indistinguishable from those found in the 2007 National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” which called for the United States to increase its focus on STEM education, research, and innovation: educate Americans with 21st-century skills; 2) foster innovation and competitiveness; and prepare leaders for a global, digital society. However, it’s the addendum to those goals that sets the tone for the report: “These goals cannot be achieved by science alone.”
Did you know that UK-based (and Sequoia Capital-funded) startup Songkick offers its male employees nine months of paternity leave? Though the legal requirement for parental leave in the UK is two weeks, Songkick now offers six weeks of paid leave and up to 46 additional weeks (the same as its maternity leave plan.)