By Rana Halpern

What we have experienced at Women's Economic Agenda Project (WEAP) in Oakland, in relation to the recruitment of adult women to computer classes differs from our experience with young women. With our adult classes, we have approximately 87% women in attendance and only 13% male. With our youth classes, we have 35% female and 65% male.

Collaborating at the computer
As a women's organization that has advocated for and provided services for poor women and families for 18 years, we have a strong pool of adult low-income women who seek out our programs. It is with our youth classes that we see a big difference between the involvement of women and men.

We try to recruit young women, specifically, by going to schools or outreaching youth programs. As a result, at the start of our youth classes we get a good percentage of young women, but, by the end, many of the young women have dropped out.

We have done a basic level of follow-up to assess why this is happening and some of the responses were that the class was boring, they had to work or take care of family, or they had too much homework.

Having fun with web designOne way we have looked at addressing this is by developing a class specifically for young women based on what they have expressed as something they are interested in: graphics. This would be to make a space specifically for young women to have as their own.


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