It's no secret that computer science, and STEM fields in general, currently employ far more men than women. This is a problem, not just in a social sense, but from the standpoint of long-term job outlooks. Computer science is going to be one of the most important job fields of the 21st Century, and we should be doing what we can to encourage girls to see it as a viable career choice.
Initiatives teaching computer programming for kids can be an excellent way to introduce girls to computer science. If you have a girl who seems interested in technology, it's worth introducing her to the idea of programming, and seeing if she'd like to pursue the sciences.
Here are a few tips from our team at Real Programming 4 Kids.
Ways to Get Girls into Computer Programming for Kids
Pretty much all children these days, boys and girls, have technology in their lives. It's probably a big part of their lives. Whether she's into video games, chatting with friends on her smartphone, or any other device... try talking to her about whether she'd like to be making such devices for herself, or modifying them to fit her needs.
Societal pressure is undoubtedly one of the reasons many girls and women don't pursue the sciences. Too many people still hold onto archaic beliefs that STEM is somehow only for men. Tell her stories of great female pioneers in science and computers. After all, as one example, the Countess Ada Lovelace is widely credited as being the first programmer!
"Pinkwashing" products to make them "girl friendly" may not be the most progressive approach, but sometimes it works. Products such as GoldieBlox are deliberately taking engineering and coding concepts and wrapping them in a skin that's more like traditional girl's toys. If that matches your girl's interests, then it could be a good approach.
Undoubtedly, you aren't the only parent who'd like to see your girl consider computer science as a hobby. Reach out to other parents in your community and try to form study groups or clubs. Companionship will help prevent programming from feeling like a lonely hobby.
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