While driving to work this morning, I decided to set the stations for the second half of the FM memory slots. I only ever listen to NPR (okay, okay, sometimes I need to hear a little Beyonce or Lady Gaga – who doesn’t?), but I really don’t know any stations. I ended up stopping on one where the two hosts of a morning show were discussing a recent study showing that women consciously or subconsciously veer away from potential jobs in any high tech industry. And why? Well, because girls are turned off by the thought of associating with or (gasp) becoming a nerd. A geek. “High-tech” means thick glasses, Star Trek posters, and social ineptitude – and women want none of that. Women don’t want to pursue a career in, say, computer programming because they’re worried they’ll end up a pocket protector-wearing, video game-playing nerd. I’m not even sure how to react to this. I’m disturbed that so many women are making major life decisions based on a stereotype rather than thinking logically about interesting and challenging career options that can enable them to be successful and financially independent. And I’m sad that young girls don’t have enough female role models doing brainy jobs.
A co-worker of mine is doing his Annual Grace Murray Hopper presentation tomorrow. Sadly, I will be missing it again, for the second year in a row. I think Grace Hopper is inspiring and incredible. She was a computer sceintist, mathematician, and physicist. She created the first ever compiler for a computer programming language, and was the primary developer of the COBOL language. She was so incredible that she had a naval warship named after her. She is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”.