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Study Shows Need to Increase Girls’ Involvement in Tech from Young Age
Technology is among the fastest growing career options for Millennials, but by the end of last year, women held less than 34 percent of tech occupations.
A new survey of focus groups of girls between the ages of 10 and 17 commissioned by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the tech industry, and conducted with the Blackstone Group between June and July 2016, identifies several crucial factors that discourage girls from considering careers in tech that need to change to inspire girls to pursue IT careers:
• Parents play a key role in introducing technology. Girls and boys agree parents and guardians are the primary source for finding out what IT stands for. However, boys are more likely to begin using mobile devices at an earlier age, at five years old or younger, than girls (11 percent versus 5 percent). Boys are also slightly more likely to explore the inner workings of tech devices out of curiosity (36 percent versus 30 percent of girls).
• Girls’ interest in tech wanes with age. Nearly half of boys (47 percent) have considered a tech career, compared to less than one-quarter (23 percent) of girls. Among middle-school girls, 27 percent have considered a tech career. By high school this figure falls to 18 percent.
• Tech classes aren’t enough. Girls who have taken a technology class are only slightly more likely to have considered an IT career (32 percent). Less than half of girls who’ve taken these courses are confident their skills are right for the job.
• Girls lack awareness about career opportunities. Of girls who haven’t considered an IT career, 69 percent attribute this to not knowing what opportunities are available to them. More than half (53 percent) say additional information about career options would encourage them to consider a job in IT.
• Girls need role models in the industry. Just 37 percent of girls know of someone with an IT job. This rises to 60 percent among girls who have considered an IT career.
Source: CompTIA’s Make Tech Her Story: What Needs to Change to Inspire Girls’ Pursuit of IT Careers, maketechherstory.comptia.org
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