Getting Girls into Robotics and Programming
Over the years, women have pushed boundaries, crossed oceans and broken stereotypes to become an equal player in the workforce. We have all slowly started accepting the fact that there need not be any gender bias while determining the best fit for a job, and a lot of research has again proven that women are better at multitasking when compared to their men counterparts.
In a time when the government and the society are keen on pushing women forward, few industries have for a long time seen an imbalance in men and women who work in it. Robotics and programming is one such area that is still filled with a majority of men.
Men predominantly rule the STEM sector, a.k.a the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math sector. Some fewer women study or work with STEM. And this hesitation in girls to study and work on technology specific fields is something every expert is looking to break.
Why Should Girls Get into Robotics and Programming?
Women are as capable as men in writing codes and building machines, and it is our duty to let them know that fact.
There is going to be a need for more than half a million jobs in the next few years that require expertise in computer science, coding, and robotics. With more women filling this gap, we can grow much quicker.
I am an extreme coding enthusiast, and I had had to fight neck to neck with a classroom of guys to prove I am no less than any of them when it came to coding and building robots.
According to me, there are a few points that the technology sector and the education sector need to address to help more girls fall in love with robots and pursue it as a career or at least as a hobby.
1. Breaking the Stereotypes
What do most robotic kits offer kids? Parts that can at the end be made into a superman, a tanker, or a vehicle that is destructive, massive and something that guys love to meddle. A girl loses interest looking at these sober toys.
Yes, there is a notable difference between what a girl likes to play with when compared to guys of the same age. A neutral colored kit that can interest both the genders like is a good option for these brands to start.
Imagine building a robot doll that a girl could play with at the end? I would personally have loved to have one of those. By creating gender neutral kits like this, we give both boys and girls equal opportunity to fall in love with the subject.
Right now, I am for the OriginTM kit along with the CastlerockTM Online Learning Platform from Roboterra. They come in such attractive colors and are designed to be created into so many different kinds of robots.
2. Creating a Nationwide Awareness
Creating such awareness is probably one thing that every government needs to focus on right now. Every school, every teacher and every parent need to know how essential coders would be to the next generation and motivate their kids into it. For instance, code.org is a nonprofit organization funded by top names in the tech field including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. It emphasizes the need for women and underrepresented students to learn the basics of coding. The website is open to all and is an amazing way to start learning all about programming.
Similarly, pushing schools to make robotics and coding a compulsory subject to learn while the child is still in school will help them realize if they have an interest in it.
3. Presenting a Female Role Model
Having a Female mentor is one solution suggested by a lot of experts to help girls pursue coding and robotics as their career path. Most robotic engineers and coders are looked upon by students as a nerdy, spectacled guy who spends all his time in front of a system. Helping promote a female role model who can help the girls understand who amazing it would be work with technology is a method that has proven successful in the past.
A lot of women coders and robotic engineers have often talked of that one female mentor/instructor who helped them move forward.
The more we show our girls how fun it is to code and work with robots, the quicker will they develop an interest in it. Even if they decide not to choose this field as their career, basic knowledge of coding is going to help all their life. 50 years back, women did not think they are capable of getting out of the house and working. Now a majority of the women earn money and support themselves. It is just a matter of time before we see a lot of female coders and engineers who make their mark and push other capable girls into learning to code and getting their hands dirty with building robots.