Lisa Wang is a blog contributor for Forbes and Founder/CEO of SheWorx, whose mission is to empower over 20,000 female entrepreneurs to build and scale successful companies. In her recent article, Lisa talks about the TechGirlz BiAnnual Survey results and how they support the idea for a stronger need to support infrastructures that will support the next generation of female tech leaders. The full article was originally published December 08, 2017 on Forbes.com.
“We want to hire female engineers, but we just can’t find them.”
This is a tiring comment that we so often hear uttered by CEOs who cannot seem to attract any women into technical roles.
Why is it that companies have such a difficult time finding female engineers? Scores of studies have analyzed the possible reasons:
- Unconscious bias in the hiring process
- Lack of diversity in the core team
- The hypothesis that women are more risk averse when it comes to new technologies
- The well-documented gender gap in tech and subsequent pipeline problem
While all of these are problems plaguing the immediate workforce, the more insidious problems begin at an earlier age.
From a young age, society teaches girls to focus on perfecting rather than building, abiding by rules rather than breaking them— a trend that has naturally pushed girls away from participating in technology and entrepreneurship. Luckily, we are seeing a growing population of parents who are recognizing the necessity of raising tech savvy daughters.
In their annual survey of more than 1,000 girls around the country, TechGirlz, a nonprofit that fosters open source technology courses for girls, found over 70% of middle school girls increasingly feel encouraged to pursue technology instruction by parents. Their top preferred technology courses were: multimedia, computer programming, and web design. Unfortunately, the survey also indicated that many middle schools lack the infrastructure to support increasing demand for technological courses. 45% of respondents said they did not take a technology class in school because they were not offered.
“Multiple studies show that we have a clear need for a greater number of more diverse technologists in America’s workforce,” said TechGirlz founder and CEO Tracey Welson-Rossman. “Engaging girls with compelling technology instruction sets them on a path towards a rewarding, empowering career in tech. Yet, our survey results show that schools are not getting the job done – girls are thirsty for more technology-related access and instruction in their classrooms.”