Women Leaving SET Jobs, Pacesetters Create Change, Mentoring and Tech's Women Problem, and Coding as a Foreign Language

Why Are Women Leaving SET Jobs?

Did you know that a new report released by the Center for Talent Innovation titled “Athena 2.0” shows that while women currently comprise roughly 50 percent of all science, engineering, and technology (SET) college graduates in the U.S., Brazil, China and India, one-third of these women are likely to quit their jobs within one year and ultimately leave the field altogether?

According to this article featured on Nextgov, “In the United States specifically, the majority (80 percent) of women love their work, yet many feel excluded from male-dominated ‘buddy networks’ and lack female role models. Most SET women (86 percent) in the U.S. also lack sponsors or mentors, and nearly half (46 percent) believe senior managers more readily see men as leadership material.”

Male advocates can play a key role in combating this issue by helping to recruit and retain technical women. To learn more about how to be a male advocate check out NCWIT’s Male Advocates and Allies: Promoting Gender Diversity in Technology Workplaces.

Pacesetters Creates Change at IU

Did you know that NCWIT Pacesetters is the first, fast-track program of its kind, aiming to move the national needle for women’s participation in computing? Company and university leaders work together across corporate and academic boundaries to accelerate the increase of technical women in their corresponding organizations.

For example, the Indiana University Pacesetter initiative has led to the creation of the multidisciplinary IU Center of Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT) with alliances for faculty, students and staff. The student group has grown to 1,400. Faculty Salons encourage interdisciplinary research, and 100 faculty women are participating in CEWiT Circles. A campus wide conference is set for the end of Women’s History Month. Continue reading about this initiative here.

Mentoring May Be Key To Solving Tech’s Women Problem

Did you know that while many people attribute the scarcity of females in tech to a “lack of talent,” there may be other factors contributing to the problem? According to this Huffington Post article, part of the problem is that women in STEM fields have so few female mentors to look to for guidance.

The article states, “Only eight percent of CIOs in the U.S. are women, according to the latest Harvey Nash survey. Without women to look to at the top, many women in STEM fields get discouraged and leave the workforce.” However, a Chicago group called the ARA (Attract, Retain, and Advance) is working toward a solution for this problem through their “speed mentoring” program as well as other efforts. Continue reading this article to learn more about this issue and the efforts of ARA.

Is Coding a Foreign Language?

Did you know that in order to encourage high school students to take more computing courses, several states are proposing legislation that would allow computer science credits to also satisfy foreign language requirements? While many people believe that giving students this option will better prepare them for the STEM focused workplace of the future, this article argues that giving students this choice may actually be hurting them instead of helping.

“While computer coding is a type of ‘language’ -- and an important one -- academics and educators in both linguistics and computer science do not recognize coding as comparable to speaking another language, which requires person-to-person interaction and understanding of another's culture and context.” If you're someone who cares about this issue, please share this article with friends, colleagues and educators.