Women Who Web

 

Who runs the web? Girls!

So why does society, women included, continue to think that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are reserved for men only?  

Most children become aware of gender roles early on and, subconsciously, those perceived norms can influence the goals and limits they create for themselves.

Toys often reinforce some of the gender stereotypes that exist. In 1992, Mattel released a Teen Talk Barbie whose lexicon included the phrase, “Math class is tough!” It was largely criticized and eventually pulled from shelves.

Fast forward 23 years, and women are still underrepresented in STEM fields. In fact, only 30 percent of women work in the tech industry, according to a CNET article published earlier this year.  

Fortunately, DC Web Women exists to promote women and girls in technology according to its website.

DCWW started off with a handful of women who would meet in a coffee shop to discuss all things tech. Twenty years later, it is more than 3,000 members strong. Many of DCWW’s members specialize in social media, search engine optimization, web analytics, e-marketing, graphic design and web development.

 Volunteers lead a coding workshop/ Photo credit: DC Web Women

Volunteers lead a coding workshop/Photo credit: DC Web Women

“Our founders wanted to create an inclusive space for women to come together to talk about tech,” said DCWW President Sibyl Edwards. “While things have improved for women in tech since 1995, the reality is there are a lot of women who are still not entering the field and those who do enter the field drop out at some point. So, there’s still very much a need for groups like DC Web Women.”

To help spread the mission and attract new members, DCWW’s leaders have developed several initiatives, including Girls Rock on the Web. Here, girls ages 8-12 learn more about technology in the hope that they girls will gain interest in STEM fields.  (Next)