App Camp For Girls founder Jean MacDonald wrote this piece for iMore, describing how the gender ratio can change if we actively support girls in fields where they are currently in the minority.
"But most women aren't really interested in programming."
When someone says that, I can relate. That's exactly how I felt about girls playing sports when I was 15. Title IX, the landmark 1972 U.S. civil rights law that mandated equal funding for both genders in educational programs — including athletics — was a hot topic during my high school years.
At the time, the major sports for girls at my school were track, gymnastics, swimming, and tennis. I remember thinking, "How will they spend the same amount of money on girls' sports as they do on boys' sports? Girls don't even want to play basketball or soccer." It didn't even occur to me that the demand might be there if girls were encouraged or supported to the same extent as their male counterparts.
Thanks to Title IX, however, the number of female high school athletes went from 295,000 in 1971 to 3.2 million in 2011. That's an increase of over 1000 percent; male athletes' numbers climbed just 20 percent in the same period.
Apparently, lots of girls do want to play basketball and soccer. And learn to code, too — we just need to support them.