Girls and young women reject information technology careers. They don’t avoid technology because they fear failing. Nor is it because boys push them aside. They walk away because girls see technology as a lonely, boring dead-end career.
An American Association of University Women study in 2000 reported women are only 20 percent of the high-tech workforce. It says women will continue to choose to work elsewhere so long as:
- Computer science courses remain tedious and dull.
- Girl-oriented computer games and web sites remain passive pink playgrounds. Meanwhile action-packed boy software focuses on kill rates.
- The stereotypical tech workplace is a sterile cubicle farm peopled by boring men who relate better to machines than humans.
When asked to elaborate on their fears girls say they fear studying technology will stunt their range of intellectual pursuits and interests. They also imagine that computer professionals lead a solitary, sedentary and antisocial life.
Of course cynics might note this proves the educational theories saying women are more intelligent than men.
In 2005 the BBC reported most schoolgirls enjoy technology and only four percent regarded computers as boring, but only 25 percent would consider a technical career.
The BBC story points out that in 2005, women made up just 21 percent of the IT workforce and “the proportion of IT workers who were female had declined steadily since the 1960s.”