There has been a lot of talk and activity about encouraging more young women to enter the technology fields, whether engineering or software or any technical role. Much of the reason for the outside effort is that girls and young women are not typically encouraged to enter these fields.
When I first started hearing about these kind of efforts, I was initially surprised, namely as I have had the good fortune to work with many women over the years in software development and Web technology. Where when many think of the traditional “geek” it is a guy, there have been many women I would also consider geeks, and if I told them to their face, they would probably agree with me!
Perhaps maybe I am an anomaly, for as I pull back and see the big picture, I do see there are many more men in tech, whether it’s in the leadership within a company or within the industry overall. I haven’t studied this area in great detail as to statistics or even why there may be people discouraging women from getting into technology. For the more I think about it, I am not surprised that teachers, guidance counselors or even parents or family may discourage someone from taking classes in a subject area, as this was something I encountered myself.
I Don’t Know How to Touch Type
All that you are reading here, including the infrastructure and front-end code that presents my writings here on The Hot Iron, were entered into a keyboard with just my index fingers, plus my thumbs on the spacebar. Seriously, I don’t know how to touch type, and not only did I never take a class in high school to learn how to, but I was encouraged not to.
Though I was using computers back in junior high school, had my own computer at home and even did my first consulting gig for the assistant superintendent of my school system plus it was overall no secret I was into computers, the fact I should probably learn to touch type did not come naturally to my guidance counselors in high school. Their reasoning? As I was on the “college track” in high school, this was not a recommended course to take, and typing – which was offered in school – was encouraged for those not going into college and rather right into the workforce. Seriously, that was the thinking in the early 1980’s. I never did fight this, for by that point I had been typing this way for several years now.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not anything that has ever haunted me as a decision. I have managed to get by with just 40% of my digits on the keyboard and I am actually quite quick at typing this way. The reason why I remember this is because people, upon watching me type, will always ask me why I don’t touch type. As the question comes up almost as frequently as to why I sign my email messages as I do, it is a story that is readily accessible. Over the years I could have taken a typing class but never even made an effort to do so, as I am not sure how much different it would have made. Of course I am not saying this “guidance” led me down a different path, but it is a small example of the types of influences that are out there.
Expose To Most All, Let Them Decide
The more I think of this effort, the more I believe in it. As a parent, I don’t want to purposely hold back my kids from any career or activity decision, providing I can afford it. Though this is nothing I am worried about now, for right now my oldest first needs to learn to read, and my youngest needs to finish potty training! But by the time they are older, hopefully there won’t be a need for organizations like Ms. Tech and the many others, for opportunities will be chosen based on your interest, not negative outside influences.
I welcome you to share any stories – positive or negative or even anecdotal – on this subject in the comments to this post.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
Technology • Strategize • Thrive • (4) Comments • Permalink
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