Picture Sally. Sally is a young girl of 7 years old, who has recently entered the academic world. Sally loves math and science, and on average not only is her IQ score higher than that of her seven-year-old male counterparts, but her grades in these subjects are higher as well. Sally is wildly self confident and knows that she will be successful as the years progress. However, As soon as she hits her adolescence, her confidence in her ability to do the same academic work as men begins to waver. As these feelings of self doubt grow, they follow Sally into her university years, where instead of majoring in one of her first loves (math or science) she goes the “safe” route and decides on an English degree.
Needless to say that Sally, whom started out a sure path to working in the engineering field, graduates and decides to take a completely different path in life.
Sally’s story is exemplified in this infographic, and it is an hugely important story for all women interested in as well as diving into the world of tech. You see, women (again, on average), are actually shown to be better at math and science that our male counterparts at an early age. The reason that this is important to point out is that we have always assumed that these subjects were more male oriented, and because of this assumption we have strayed away from math and science focused professions (such as technology).
We are starting to see that this fact is not necessarily true and that instead, it is women's lack of confidence that holds us back from even attempting to enter the fields of math or science. Women like math and science, and we are good at it, even better than men, but by the time we hit university many of us assume that those subjects are for men, and thus choose different fields of study. And, to make matters worse, even if women do decide to study math and science, of those that graduate, only 20% actually get jobs related to their topic of study!
Obviously, we can see the outcome of this problem by looking at the unequal number of women versus men in the technology field. And this is a huge problem, not just because it’s not “fair”, but because it means there is a whole lot of brain power that is being left out of the tech equation. Which means there are a whole lot of great ideas and solutions that we will never see!
Thus, how do we solve this problem? Well, for those of us women that are thinking about going into tech, we need to internalize the fact that we can be wildly successful at these jobs, and that they are not just for men. For those of us raising daughters who are interested in math and science, we need to provide the support they need in order to stick to their interests in these topics throughout their grade school, university and professional years.
Being a Women in tech isn’t easy, but it’s even harder because we doubt ourselves. It’s time to be aware of this self doubt, to recognize that it is based on nothing but assumption and to move forward as empowered women in tech. By doing so, we will show future women that this field is for them, and that, in fact, they were born with an ability to be just as successful in it than anyone else.