What Philly Women Need (By Philly Women)

Christine Speer Lejeune, an author at Philadelphia Magazine, shares “25 smart ideas for making Philly a better city for women — according to the women who live here.” She spoke to many women in all different avenues in the Philadelphia area — teachers, lawyers, activists, mothers, dancers, singers, entrepreneurs, politicians, writers, wives, [etc.]. These women had their say on questions such as “What would make their lives, and the lives of other women, better in big and small ways? What, exactly, would they do if they were in charge?” Amongst those women, is TechGirlz CEO & Founder, Tracey Welson-Rossman, who talks about the important issue regarding women in tech and pay inequality. The full article was originally published on PhillyMag.com.

There’s money waiting for us in tech. Let’s get it.

Tracey Welson-RossmanOne of the surest ways to advance and secure women’s role in society, politics and other arenas is through economic empowerment. But when you look at the jobs traditionally dominated by women, they’re in lower-paying careers. Ninety-eight percent of dental hygienists are women. Eighty-seven percent of teachers and 82 percent of social workers are women. These are important jobs with real impact, but they’re not high-paying careers.

Unfortunately, there’s been a 35-year decline in the number of women in tech. And that stems from how we’re educating our girls. Studies have shown that as early as age six, girls don’t see themselves as being good with technology. Because of that, they tend to opt out of math and science by middle school. But we’ve also seen that when you put a robot or computer in front of them, it changes their opinion about what they’re capable of. And that — changing girls’ views about what they can and want to do — is what we do at Tech Girlz.

An intern at Facebook makes $8,000 a month. Sure, not everyone wants to work at Facebook or land in Silicon Valley. But tech is also in medicine, in virtual reality, in gaming, in cybersecurity, in fashion and smart fabrics, like the work they’re doing at Drexel. If we allow our girls to see the creative, diverse ways tech impacts different professions, it will change lives down the line. We’re talking about more women designing products, commanding higher salaries, maintaining more flexible schedules.

Dads in tech have been the biggest supporters of TechGirlz because they understand the opportunities. They know there are 500,000 job openings in tech-related fields right now, and one million projected for 2020. They understand that exposing their girls to technology early empowers them later. We need to do a better, faster job of inspiring half of our population to reach for that brass ring.

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