1 in 2 Canadians cannot name a single woman scientist/engineer and only 9 per cent of Canadian women dreamed of becoming a computer scientist as a child
TORONTO, March 8, 2019 /CNW/ - A new report from Girls Who Code, the international non-profit working to close the gender gap in technology, found that 82 per cent of Canadians picture a man when they imagine a computer scientist. The non-profit, which launched in Canada in November 2018, also found that 1 in 2 Canadians cannot name a single woman scientist or engineer and that only 9 per cent of Canadian women dreamed of becoming a computer scientist as a child, compared to 17 per cent of men.
"What this data really shows is that women have a lingering crisis of confidence when it comes to their abilities in computing and that it started in early childhood," said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. "Men were nearly twice as likely to dream of becoming a computer scientist when they were a kid. In fact, boys were more likely to even understand what computer science was—39 per cent compared to 26 per cent of girls—and that means somewhere along the way we started teaching our boys about computer science, but not our girls."
When it comes to closing the gender gap in technology, 3 in 4 Canadians (75 per cent) agree that exposing girls to coding programs earlier in their lives will increase their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers. Since its Canadian launch, Girls Who Code has started upwards of 30 after-school Clubs—free programs designed for girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years old with a wide range of computer science skills—across the country, with over 70 more in the works.
"We've made strides in the technology sector toward closing the gender gap, but there is still a great deal of work to do," said Katherine Wetmur, International Chief Information Officer and Co-Chair of the Technology Diversity Council at Morgan Stanley, Founding Partner of Girls Who Code's international expansion in Canada. "A focus at the elementary and high school education levels will be key, and Morgan Stanley is proud to support Girls Who Code in its mission to do exactly that."
"I joined Girls Who Code as a Clubs facilitator because I truly believe in their gender-specific grassroots approach to teaching young girls to code," said Rusul Alrubail, Executive Director of Parkdale Centre for Innovation and Girls Who Code Clubs facilitator in Toronto. "This report clearly demonstrates that girls need increased representation in computer science, and the most effective way to achieve that is by exposing girls to computer science earlier on, especially with a focus on equity and inclusion of all girls. I'm thrilled to be running my first program at the Parkdale Centre over March Break and cannot wait to see what these talented girls come together to create."
The report went on to find that the vast majority of Canadians, 77 per cent, believe increased media representation—books, movies, television—is key to closing the technology gender gap, as growing up, 73 per cent of Canadian women said they had no female role models (family members, friends, TV, movie, or book characters) that worked in STEM.
When it comes to women entering STEM as adults, 42 per cent of Canadian women believe it's easier for men to break into the industry, while only 31 per cent of men say the same. And while it's certain that a substantial gender gap exists in these industries, only 59% of Canadian men said they have noticed more men in technical roles compared to three-quarters (75%) of women.
Morgan Stanley is the Founding Partner of Girls Who Code's international expansion in Canada.
To learn more about Girls Who Code, visit: ca.girlswhocode.com.
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About Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is an international non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. Through their programs, they are leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Girls Who Code has reached over 90,000 girls in the United States since starting in 2012. To join the movement or learn more, visit ca.girlswhocode.com.
SOURCE Girls Who Code
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