I hope I have your interest from the title of the post!
I like travelling for work, it breaks up the week and I like the change. It also gives me time out to think and plan for the coming weeks (for my job, every week is different). I find it gives me another perspective on what’s happening in my life at the moment and it’s incredibly refreshing. Particularly when I get to stay in such lovely locations…
So my trip away last week got me thinking about the upcoming Go Girl Go For IT event to be held in Melbourne in June. I always love attending this event and I have been invited back to present to the 1000+ girls again this year. Don’t you just love their fabulous logo of the girls head? Funky 🙂
Exciting too because all high school girls attending get a copy of my pink book! So what topic will I present on this year? I will let you know when I know 🙂 but I will be travelling to Go Girl on the way back from Barcelona so I’m sure I will have plenty of stories to tell!
So back to the title of the post. Attending these events always gets me thinking about how we can inspire more females to consider a career in computing. And we need to do this now as much as we ever did; the numbers of females studying technology are at an all time low. In the first year undergrad class that I teach, I only have one female out of 23 and this disappoints me, mostly because I don’t like being the only girl in the room! I’m sure you can relate. But seriously, this is a problem that many of us have been trying to solve for more than a decade. We have tried lots of different strategies and interventions including events like Go Girl and Technology Takes You Anywhere (the Qld equivalent) and the pink book, however. The numbers of females in computing have not yet increased significantly.
So why do we keep spending much of our spare time in organising and implementing these interventions? Well we figure that we might not have any girls in computing otherwise! I’m being serious! We keep doing what we do …but maybe we need to take some advice from Maria Klawe’s inspiring lecture. (pity I couldn’t get it to run on my iPad :()
I have heard of Maria who is a well known computer scientist and advocate of women in computing, and read some of her academic papers and I think she gives all of us who work so hard at inspiring young females fresh hope. She suggests some new strategies (which I’m sure we are already doing on some level within our universities), and gives evidence of how they have worked in her university. At Harvey Mudd college, they have increased the number of female computer science majors from 10% to 42% in 5 years!
Even if we can learn one new thing from Maria, it all helps…