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Old August 23rd, 2001, 02:10 AM
Rani
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Thumbs up Steering girls to tech world

Thought this was an interesting article for a discussion.

1. Do you think there will be 425K high-tech positions in the US that will go unfilled? Looks like its an opportunity for the H1 visa chaps?!

2. Personally I commend the companies for their efforts to expose young girls to the glamourous IT industry.

3. Anyone have any other thoughts?



Steering girls to tech world

August 19, 2001

BY DEBRA PICKETT STAFF REPORTER


As girls near adolescence, they experience a crisis of confidence.

From Carol Gilligan's research at Harvard to the American Association of University Women to Mary Pipher's best-seller Reviving Ophelia, it's well-established that young women enter their middle school years as outspoken and bold and leave them as tentative and conformist. They fall behind in academics, especially math and science, and greatly curtail their educational and career ambitions.

Luckily, no one has told Pia and Stephanie about all this.

Pia Johnson, 13, and Stephanie Porter, 14, are starting high school this year. And their ambitions are undiminished.

"People are always saying things like 'that's a guy's job,' " said Pia, who wants to be a lawyer, or a public speaker, or a computer technologist, "But just because society says something, or there are only boys doing it, it doesn't mean I can't be the only girl."

"I want to get all of my degrees," Stephanie said, "because I want to make a lot, a lot of money. I want to make enough to buy myself a Jaguar."

Pia and Stephanie spent last week at EXITE--Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering--camp, an IBM-sponsored program for girls, designed to build confidence and promote interest in math and science. Twenty-three Chicago middle schoolers attended the camp, held at IBM's downtown headquarters. Nominated by teachers and guidance counselors, the girls are all strong students who have demonstrated an interest in technology.

"Chat is first and foremost in their minds," said Stephanie Anderson, an IBM Project Manager and EXITE volunteer, who led the girls through building their own e-commerce sites.

But while the girls love to e-mail and instant-message each other, they are less interested in the programming and hardware that make such communication possible.

"Most girls aren't really thinking about computers that way, how they work," Pia said.

And it's exactly this curiosity that often leads boys to study computer science and other high-tech engineering fields. In fact, though women actually compose a majority of college students today, fewer than 10 percent of engineering degrees and 25 percent of degrees in computer science go to women. These degrees lead directly to the "positions that are being rewarded by companies today, both in money and in promotions," said Laura Meyer, president of Chicago Women in Technology -- ChicWit--a local networking group.

"We want girls to go into science and technology because they are great, interesting, promising fields," said Diane Doers, director of corporate community relations for IBM in the Midwest, "but also because it's good for us as a company."

Despite the recent market slow-down, companies such as IBM desperately need to deepen the pool of high-tech talent. According to a recent study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), 425,000 information technology positions will go unfilled this year because of a lack of qualified applicants. About 20,000 of these jobs are in the Chicagoland area.

"There is a lack of awareness about the breadth of careers available in technology," said Linda Salchenberger, director of the Center for Information Management and Technology at Loyola University of Chicago, who has run a camp similar to EXITE in cooperation with AT&T. "Computer science engineering tends to be a solitary activity, so it is a turnoff, frankly, for a lot of girls," she said, "but there are many other specialties within the field."

As part of the EXITE program, each girl will be assigned a mentor, a woman working in a high-tech job, from sales to project management, with whom she'll keep in touch throughout the year. Diane Doers is Pia's mentor. "At the beginning of the week, she was sure she wanted to be a lawyer," she said laughingly about her young protege, "so it's my job to turn that around."

Several research studies have asserted that young women such as Pia and Stephanie rarely consider computer-related careers because they lack self-confidence in their computer abilities, whether or not they actually lack competence.

"The girls at my school just get on the computer and get what they need and get off," Stephanie said. "The boys just sit there and browse. They definitely like them more."

One theory holds that the time boys spend playing video games--far longer, on average, than for girls--makes them more comfortable around computers. So a primary goal for the EXITE camp was to get the girls feeling confident about their own technology skills. In one exercise, they took apart and reassembled working PCs, prying them open with screwdrivers and then swapping out memory chips and network cards. The room filled with applause and the slapping sound of high-fives as the computers came back on after the exercise, all running perfectly, fueled by girl power.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-comp19.html
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Old August 23rd, 2001, 02:33 AM
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'According to a recent study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), 425,000 information technology positions will go unfilled this year because of a lack of qualified applicants'


WOW

I just want one from that 425,000 , bofore the giriles grab them.

do you belong to any womans lib organization ?
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