Technology and Girls Code through the Glass Ceiling

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I had two older brothers who were math stars.  As the youngest and the only girl, I assumed math and technology were boy interests. They were into model planes and trains which didn’t do it for me.  Truth be told, I was fascinated with my older brother’s chemistry set but couldn’t play with it, unless Jim was there, as I might cause an explosion. I come from generations of two career families. But change in our inner programming takes time and now my granddaughters’ love math. Yeah!!!

Eventually I got to love science, majored in it at college but that old lack of confidence in numbers was always an itch under the surface. Happy to say that technology is now how I express my creativity. I am in awe of its potential and see how it can be used to transform our world. Since change is our one constant, technology can help us to creatively contain and channel that change for the greater good.

As with all power, it needs to be contained within a value system yet its creative potential to solve major world problems and create exciting new possibilities is limited only by our lack of an expansive belief system, a creative open attitude and the language of Coding.

Therefore it delighted me to read, “Breaking the Silicon Ceiling”, in the December, 2014 issue of Vogue, a perfect venue for such an article. It is not either or, it is both and more. “Tracy Chou is a young engineer at Pinterest who is tackling tech’s women problem head-on.” She wrote a blog post on Medium.com announcing a call for data about women and technology.

Disappointing findings:  At Google 17% of the tech team were women, at Facebook and Yahoo it was 15%, Pinterest managed 12% while Mozilla’s engineers were less than 9% women. How could this be since there are more women than men in our colleges? I was reminded of my early experiences around numbers. Was it a confidence thing?

Chou is a long overdue, rock star, celebrity role model. Recognizing differences in biological strength with her guy colleagues, as they rock climb together she notices the guys muscle through on brute strength, “I have less strength so I have to strategize. And technology can be the way to teach girls to use that creative strength and strategy effectively.

Coding software is a lot like writing which girls do well.  It requires a careful fluid eye and imaginative attention to form. Girls Who Code is a NY based organization with clubs in 20 states.  Whether you are a father or a mother, do your daughter a favor and let her see what fun it can be to solve problems and write stories in a new language. She’ll love it and it will be another step towards becoming a successful citizen of the  21st Century.

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