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
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