Exposure is Key
I hand selected the post you mentioned to be included in my publication Code Like A Girl. I felt it called out an important point; That tech isn’t as hostile to women or people of colour than it used to be. It isn’t perfect and there is clearly still work to do. However, I don’t think the author, Sarah Goff-Dupont, was implying that we push girls into tech if they are not interested.
It is definitely a bad idea to push kids into activities and areas they are not passionate about. That said, I do believe that we have to go out of our way to expose young girls to many different STEM activities. Boys are often included in them by default. Sadly, it is often assumed that girls won’t be interested.
I have been exposing my daughter to different STEM concepts, toys, experiments, clubs, and activities for many years. When she was six I tried to teach her how to code. She was interested for a bit, but it clearly did not capture her imagination. She was more interested in Lego, Princesses, and her science experiment kit. So I let it go.
I continued to expose her to different STEM activities and about a month ago I sat down with her and taught her how to code with Scratch. She was immediately hooked. When we finished the project she wanted to do the Moana hour of code. She was very excited when she finished it with no help from Mom or Dad.
Later that week she went to a CAGIS event where she learned how to program with arduino. She really enjoyed it and asked if she could buy her own kit with money she had saved up. We helped her do that and she has already built a small program with her Dad on it.
My point is, she wasn’t interested in coding two years ago. So I let it go. I exposed her to other things instead and tried again at a later stage. This time it fascinated her.
She can have a career in anything she wants, but I want to make sure she has been exposed to as many things as possible.
No kid should be forced into tech, piano, art, dance, hockey, or any other activity for that matter. But if you don’t expose them to a wide variety of things you will never know what they will be interested in.