One reason there are few female executives in Silicon Valley is that few women become engineers. In the United States, less than twenty per cent of engineering and computer-science majors are women. Girls are said to think that software and video games and computer programming are for guys. “Growing up,” Mark Zuckerberg’s older sister Randi told me, “my brother got video games and I got dolls.” For girls, there is a stigma attached to engineering, Marissa Mayer, who is now a vice-president at Google, says. “They don’t want to become the stereotype of all-night coders, hackers with pasty skin.” Michelle Hutton, who is the president of the international Computer Science Teachers Association, says, “Computer science is seen as a very masculine thing”—just “as girls don’t want to be garbage collectors because that’s seen as a boys’ thing.”
Check out this great article on Sheryl Sanberg, Facebook’s COO, from The New Yorker on male dominated industries.
Hey Sheryl, I know a great film that highlights a way to get girls interested in engineering.