Can higher ed grow female participation in tech fields?
- More than 45% of participants in an international survey about opportunities for women in technology say that a lack of female mentors and role models is a primary reason for the low representation of women in tech jobs and industries.
- Gender bias, unequal pay and disparate growth opportunities rounded out the top five list of reasons for female under-representation, which many experts say diminishes an already-thin talent pool of workers for critical fields.
- Observers point to initiatives such as "Girls Who Code" and gender-specific training and scholarship programs as remedies to the gender gap.
Tech interest among women and minorities is increasing, but only because of a recent infusion of resources and exposure to communities which historically have not received attention for STEM development. Colleges and universities are typically at the forefront of this exposure and can consider enhanced partnerships with secondary districts and federal agencies to spur more interest in these fields.
The example of female professors and students in secondary classrooms, summer camps and community activities are important tools in helping young women discover passion and pathways to careers in computer science and other STEM fields, which in turn, can boost institutional profiles in community outreach and avail departments and schools to federal and private grant support.