In 1992, the world learned just how bad women were discouraged to enter the STEM field.
Teen Talk Barbie was the peak of innovation for doll manufacturers. Imagine a doll that was not only stylish and fun to play with, but it also talked. It’s was perfect. Girls would love it. Quickly after its release, we would learn that it turned into a disaster.
Why? The product was great. It talked perfectly. But it was one phrase that ruined it all: “Math class is tough.” In those four words, it was clear that an underlying truth lived in our society… that young girls are discouraged, or negatively stereotyped, about STEM.
Times have changed since that controversy. Overall, women have been able to progress in many professional fields. But in many ways, women in AI has remained stagnate or even worse off.
According to Statista, in the biggest tech companies, women make up only 27%-47% of the workforce. When you look at jobs specifically categorized as tech, it’s even worse. Eight out of ten employees are men! Since 1990, women in computing jobs have decreased by almost ten percent.
It’s clear that we have a major gender gap in the AI industry. But how can we change that? It all starts at an early age. If we can work together to provide opportunities for young girls, we can make a difference.
Here are some ways we can do something today.
Become a role model
Women are 17% more likely to join a STEM field when they have a female mentor. Your time could be the most effective and valuable way to influence women.
Supporting or starting a summer camp that’s focused on STEM for girls will equip them for the future. It will also encourage them and peak their interests when they have the opportunity to learn with others just like them.
If we change the conversation—that women are valuable in fields related to math and technology, we can increase confidence in girls to pursue their interests. We also improve stereotypes within their environments.
Host AI workshops
When you hold events focused on AI and young women, you can influence their lives. It’s an opportunity to educate them and encourage them to aim for their goals.