From the moment we are born our gender affects what colours we like, what toys we play with and what clothes we wear, but does it affect what career we choose?
If you go to any local prep classroom the boys want to be truck drivers, builders, astronauts and firefighters. While the girls want to be singers, teachers, check-out chicks and models.
Gender influences your skills and abilities, interests and personality type, life roles, experience, culture, social and economic conditions and childhood fantasies.
Many industries are overly male populated and trying to change. Information Technology (IT) is one of these industries.
The Tech Girls Movement is one of the groups trying to gain women’s interest in IT. Currently jobs in computing and IT are expected to grow to 4.2million in the U.S. by 2020, which is around 150,000 jobs a year. However, there are not enough people involved with IT to fill these jobs.
Tech Girls believe there is potential for women in the field because 74 per cent of middle school girls enjoy IT based subjects while women only make up 20 percent of the field. They believe that targeting this group at a young age with fun books and programs that can create more opportunity for women in the field.
In Australia women represent 28 percent of Australia’s IT industry. This has increased dramatically since 2012 when women only represent 19 percent. Currently, Westpac and Dell offer scholarships encouraging female secondary school graduated to aim for an IT career.
Apple Twitter, Google and Facebook are also looking at ways to increase the oestrogen in their office with around 30 percent of their workforce being women.
Another industry jumping on the band wagon is engineering. GoldieBlox is an app created to boost young girl’s interest in the field. They believe due to the male orientation of the industry, girls are losing interest as young as eight. Along with this, the stigma around construction toys, like Lego, being boy’s toys has caused girls to give up.
Currently only 14 percent of engineers worldwide are women.
The reason women are leaving these fields is because the field isolates women, biased to men, lack of female mentors and a lack of sponsors for women.