4 answers

Why is their negative stigma surrounding girls who want to major in STEM programs?

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As a girl who grew up on numerous video games, I am so curious to why there is such a negative connotation of the phrase "Female Engineer."
I am hoping to major in Computer Science at a large university but am so befuddled in the area of STEM careers and women. Why isn't there huge names of women in computer fields? Like a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates? I grew up around Star Wars and technology, and have been accepted as the "nerd" I am. But I still do not get why people are so against a woman in an IT manager or CEO role. Are people intimidated? Is it rare to have smart women pursing their inner dreams, despite the social aspect of it all? #computer-science #technology #tech #video-games #stem #computer-programming #computers #women

4 answers

Monica’s Answer


You can usually spot the negative stigma and diffuse or discard it when you realize the source of it. The industry is filled with males because that's who was able to study these careers 30 years ago and before. There aren't very many, but there are significant and impressive women in the field. You mentioned Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, both of whom started out as the guys in the computer lab. up until very recently, there were very few women in the lab, and back then, the male managers of those women (even older guys) did not find it valuable to promote those women to leadership positions as they are doing today. Its a reality that there was a male chauvinist hierarchy in the tech industry 30 years ago, and also that women were staying home to care for families, or taking jobs that were flexible so they could care for families. But that has subsided, and you will start seeing a lot more of those big important roles be lead by women as the old fashioned ideas retire away. The CEO of IBM is a woman, and Yahoo, and .... many more! I suggest you read this article, and join this mentoring group to see just how many women in IT are leading. I also happened to read the last link with the article that really justifies why STEM is so critical to the future of our economy!

http://energy.gov/diversity/services/coordinating-council-women-and-girls https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/women https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stem-education-future-us-economy-gary-shapiro?trk=hp-feed-article-title-hpm

Benjamin’s Answer


In theory most people really don't have a problem with it, but in practice it is an extremely male dominated field. This makes workplace culture more difficult to integrate in to and as a woman you will likely face issues that your male counterparts wouldn't. It's easy for some men to see that as encroaching on a culture that works "just fine" for them but maybe won't for you. This isn't to say however that women don't exist in those sorts of careers and as a whole STEM fields are progressing. If issues do arise in your workplace, you have support from HR and other co-workers. If people are actively trying to dissuade you because they think women shouldn't be in STEM fields though, then they can go stuff it. There are plenty of places that will welcome you with open arms and those that don't can stuff it as well. It is a slowly dying stigma that can only be treated with exposure therapy, so don't let it slow you down.

Meena’s Answer


There is definitely a huge gap between the number of men and women in STEM professions. That does not mean you need to stop pursuing your goals or feel discouraged. As more and more girls show interest in STEM and pursue career in technology, the gap will fill up.

It is definitely an intellectually rewarding career and you should go for it!

Joanne’s Answer


Just be comfortable with yourself and you'll be fine.

I was one of a few women in my classes back in the day and it didn't really affect me.

I liked computers .. plain and simple.

.. and as for working with men .. they're really not that bad :)