Women are under-represented in the technological fields. In computer programming,
the percentage of women is approximately 35 percent in the workplace,
and 18 percent in post-secondary institutions. In middle school and
high school computer classes, girls tend to be the minority. As more
and more jobs require technological competence, this trend can mean
a loss of income for individual women at work and a loss of a huge pool
of intellectual resource for the nation.
In her 1995 work, Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher makes the case that
adolescent girls start to lose self-confidence and are not encouraged
to make challenging goals to realize their potential. It is also a time
when girls start to perform less well in science and math. Like Ophelia
in Shakespeare's Hamlet, they succumb to trying to please others rather
than taking the path of self-actualization. Research by the American
Association of University Women, Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging
America, (1991) looks at the effect of gender on self-esteem and career
aspirations. Girls experience a greater drop in self-esteem and are
found to be discouraged from a wide range of academic pursuits, especially
math, science and nontraditional careers.
Several participant groups in the Tech Up Project deal
with this issue on a grassroots level. Maureen Fitzgerald of the Computer Technologies Program developed and coordinated this section of the
Tech Up 'Zine.
© 2000 by Individual Authors