March 9, 2012Culture · Compute · Women in Tech · Academics

Dare2BDigital: Why STEM needs women

Servane Demol, a manager on the Information Technology team, spoke at the 2012 Dare2BDigital conference earlier this year. Dare2bDigital brings young women ages 11 to 17 together with over 400 young women, parents, and mentors from around the Bay Area to inspire women to pursue technology education and careers. This year, the conference explored robotics, programming, blogging, eCommerce, collaboration software, networking, and internet security.

As the world’s grows increasingly ‘techy’ with new start-ups, apps, and websites popping up everyday, I’d think that girls would be equally as interested as men in keeping up to speed in our digital age and taking up computer science at a much faster pace.

But sadly, the stats are showing just the opposite—girls still largely lag behind guys as tech majors in school.

The 2012 Dare2BDigital conference gave me the chance to show hundreds of teenage girls to all that the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields have to offer. I want girls to study engineering because I had a blast doing it, and as a CS gal myself, I feel a certain responsibility to give back and work to break the useless stereotype of CS as some nerdy job for men with no action and zero fun. I don’t want any girl to miss an opportunity to get into engineering if it’s something she could be passionate about and happy doing.

I can’t think of one reason how or why more diversity in STEM jobs wouldn’t lead to better products in the field. If both men and women’s intuition shine through in a product, users benefit from equal mind to both sexes experience with the product.

I hope that among the more than 200 young women I spoke to, we have at least one future technology leader and at least one aspiring entrepreneur. If this event contributed to a girl’s motivation toward a career in CS or STEM, or opened a girl’s eyes up to options in the engineering field, then it was a success and one more step in the right direction.

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