Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Aren’t Women Supposed to Be Caregivers?

Your article discusses an interesting perspective. It is logical that if 25% of people entering school for technology are women that the workforce and hence companies would be 25% female. You go on to discuss that women aren’t entering the tech field because they aren’t interested. You imply that this means we should stop looking for solutions to increase the number of females working in technology.

I agree with your first few points. We can’t expect a higher percentage of women in the industry if that number isn’t going up in the degree programs that result in entrance to that industry.

However, I believe, rather than your claim that women are not interested in STEM jobs, they are not even exposed to the possibility of them. Our society labels women as the caregiver, not the analytic problem solver. As such it is automatically assumed they would not be interested in fields like technology.

Aside from the fact that not every woman is destined to be a caregiver, there is nothing wrong with the idea that a caregiver might be interested in technology. In fact I believe that the technologies that will have the largest positive impact for humanity will come from women.

For this to happen we must expose our young girls to all kinds of STEM topics and give them role models so they can see themselves in similar roles. The Movie Hidden Figures has done a lot to help with this. Especially for girls of colour.

You mentioned that no one complains it is unfair that there aren’t more men in nursing. Good point. They should. This is a parallel problem to the lack of women in STEM careers.

Boys are not taught that it is ok to grow up to be a caregiver. It is not seen as manly enough. At least not against our society's definition of “Manly.” This is sad, just as there are many women who would make fantastic developers, designers, and engineers, there are many men that would be fantastic nurses, teachers, and social workers if they were exposed to them as possible career paths at a young age.

We need to work hard to show our girls it is possible for them to be the next Nobel Prize winner, Tech Tycoon, or Astronaut. Similarly, we need to show our boys that it is ok, in fact encourage to express their emotions and care for others.