Apple Makes Girls Smarter: How Early Computer Use Among Girls Will Close the Technological Gender Gap
A recent article in Slate supported a direct correlation between early introduction of girls to computers and women working in computer science. Targeted mentoring programs in high schools and colleges alike are working towards attracting and keeping women in the field. The lack of female presence in the field is due to a variety of reasons beginning with childhood and a weak foundation in math and science.
As children, boys are more likely to play with toys that build spatial reasoning skills. It has been found that girls lack confidence in math and science during formative high school years, according to studies quoted in the article. All these factors lead to a disparagingly large gap in pay and personnel working in the field of computer science.
As the tech gap widens nationally, globally internet penetration is occurring at an increasingly rapid pace. The United States’ issue with this gap is being addressed but only in small pockets of development, and it needs to be addressed on a larger scale.
Internationally, the absence of females in the computer science field is slightly less considerable; statistics show women slightly more present in the classrooms and in the professional field. The demand for new technology is overwhelming as companies and governments are trying to adapt to the current digital age. Steady inclusion of women in these think tanks will prevent groupthink, offering a different perspective in development and helping to define the yet untapped market of "girl gaming."
Working to solve this issue is a great start, but looking at it deeper we shouldn’t be just encouraging girls to get into computers because it will get them a better paying job. The bigger picture is the development of computational thinking. This skill set is only going to become increasingly important for everyone as we progress into the digital age.
Computational thinking is a way of solving problems that draws on methods utilized in the computer science field, communication, aggregation, design and reformulation to name a few. For a lack of a better phrase, computational thinking is the “self-awareness” of problem solving allowing the individual to consider the problem in multiple paradigms. This method of thinking inspired in computer sciences will be the standard of how we solve problems and design systems regardless of gender.