Posting in Design
Google's 'Mind the Gap!' program is designed to encourage more women to join the engineering profession.
In the U.S., less than 15 percent of Advanced Placement computer science qualification sitters are female students. The problem is worldwide, and the shortage affects countries that are rapidly developing innovative technology, including Israel.
There is still a gender divide in terms of girls choosing to pursue careers in computer science. Even though women make up over half of the world's population, only a third of engineering jobs across the globe are held by women. It is thought that misconceptions concerning STEM subjects (science, math, technology and engineering) are to blame.
This is something Google is attempting to change, according to the Official Google blog.
According to Michal Segalov, Software Engineer at Google's R&D Center in Israel, Google's 'Mind the Gap!' program, began in 2008, is aimed at encouraging girls to enter the engineering profession, and help equalize the ratio of men and women in scientific and technology-driven industries.
In collaboration with the Israeli National Center for Computer Science Teachers, the scheme includes monthly school visits for girls to the Google office and annual technology conferences at academic institutions. Google hopes that by actively promoting careers for women in the technology, science and information technology fields, girls will learn more about the opportunities available and pursue them, ignoring the stereotype of these fields as male-orientated.
At one of Google's visits, a 10th grade student named Keren who enjoyed mathematics but had never considered computer science as a high school major was a participant. Recently, Keren informed the company that the visit made such an impact on her, she switched her major to computer science.
"Talking to women in the field helped me change my mind," she told Google.
Since the project began, over 2,500 girls have been accommodated at the Google offices and at annual university conferences. Over 100 schools have been represented, and the students come from institutions including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nazareth.
The scheme seems to be making an impact, with approximately 40 percent of participants reported to choose computer science as high school majors after attending. The company hopes that others may be encouraged to start similar programs, which might entice more would-be engineers to help fill the shortage gap.
Image credit: Steve Keys
- World Bank and Google announce mapping communities collaboration
- Trains and tourists: A match made in heaven?
- Petroleum engineers become hot property
- Privately-funded science university announced
Feb 5, 2012
An interesting fact that often goes unnoticed these days is that 56% of all college students are female. Where is the equality in that? This is a huge disparity, and means (among other things) that there are a lot of college-educated women who will be marrying non-college-educated men. Is this what women want? I doubt it. Among my friends (mostly white, middle class) when one of the boys gets accepted at a major university, it is a significant event, and it is because his grades are VERY good. Many white middle class boys face the unfortunate reality that they have to be much better than their female or minority peers to get into good schools. There is no one to make the case for them, and they suffer this injustice in silence.
My son wa a National Merit Scholar and graduated from The University of Texas with an Electrical Engineering degree in 2007. There were women in his class, and the women all got coddled, courted, incentivized, rewarded, etc, while the white males had to make their own way, without any special help. My daughter graduated with a Physical Science Education degree, Summa Cum Laude, from a male-dominated private engineering university. She is employed as a science and math teacher. Unlike public schools, this private school gave her no special help just because she's a woman. Do women really need racial/gender profiling and affirmitive action in order to be successful and choose the careers they want? Did you ever think that the reason there are 50% more men than women in engineering fields is because maybe more boys than girls want to chose those fields? Do you not believe in freedom of choice, or do you only believe people should choose the outcomes you wish? Maybe you believe in "informed choice". If so, the Pro-Life crowd would like to speak with you.
I am a woman in IT and have faced crisitsim for my gender. There is always a question of "YOU'RE going to fix my computer???" or "YOU'RE going to bring the network back up???" I just laugh it off and stay focused on the problem at hand and always do just as good if not better than my male counterparts. But the fact is, that question is always there. A lot of this comes from the lack of women in the field, I am seen as an exception to the rule, when it shouldn't be so uncommon to have women in fields that require critical thinking, problem soving, etc. Because what do women love to do, but fix problems, work as a team, and the like. All of which are valuable skills, that IT departments are often lacking. More women in technology, science, and math fields would add a greatly lacking dynamic. I believe that a lot of women don't see technology fields as an option. It goes back to everything you are told when growing up. Women aren't good at math boys are. Girls play with dolls, boys play with trucks. They way you are raised, and they way society defines gender roles, affects the choices that most men and women make, whether you want to believe it or not. Yeah everyone has the freedom to chose whatever career they want, but the fact is, women don't see technology, science, and math fields as an option as often as men do. There is no harm in trying to encourage women to go into a career that might seem otherwise uninteresting.