Interesting article by Lev Lafayette about the discrimination women face in the IT industry. Unfortunately girls from a very young age are encouraged into paths that move them away from IT and science and maths based professions. Instead they are encouraged into more traditional female professions such as child care, community services ,teaching and nursing ( the nurturing professions). Not that there is anything wrong with those professions I myself work in the community services sector. But lets face it they are low paying professions compared to male dominated professions.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (2006) found that the gender gap in math ability and the level of gender inequality in a society were highly correlated. That is, “…the gender gap in math, although it historically favors boys, disappears in more gender-equal societies’
Gender discrimination is a complex thing. The statistics about discrimination cases brought before the courts do not tell the whole story. In fact they tell very little of the story. I still remember my daughter, aged 4, declaring she can’t be a doctor because boys are doctors and girls nurses. Hand on heart I can say I never taught my daughter such utter rubbish. It was something she picked up from creche and TV I highly suspect.
And lets look at TV. In the popular American sitcom,Modern Family a whole episode was devoted to Phil’s love of gadgets and technology and Clare, his wife, not being able to work the remote for the TV. This is just one example but there are several other shows where there is a running gag about women being dumb and struggling with basic technology.
But there is something we can do. Just knowing our children are getting gendered messages that will effect their career choices is a start but we need to do more than just know. We have a wonderful opportunity to change the conversation; to talk positively to our children, nieces and nephews etc about boys and girls having equal right and ability to enter any profession be it IT or nursing . Say it long enough and make sure your actions and the actions of others match the rhetoric and we will achieve equality.