Technology + Girls = An Equal Chance for Success

While doing some research for an article, I came across a great piece of information - from what I would think was a pretty unlikely source - the PTA (Parent Teacher Association). I have a 10.5 year old daughter who is a total computer geek & gamer. The gender 'thing' is just starting to come up in school. One of the first paragraphs in the article stuck with me:

Over a lifetime, attitudes about computer use can become deeply gender-linked. Several factors feed that attitude, including computer games' use of male characters and objectification of females, timed contests, complicated navigation requirements, and tedious actions. As a result of computer anxiety, girls are likely to avoid computers, to harbor negative views about technology, and to feel less technologically competent. Especially if girls have negative first experiences with technology, they are far less likely to master it later in life.

As an adult late-bloomer geek & gamer I look past the overly masculine/violent characters and behaviors and look to the mechanics of the game (and the visuals, no denying I love great graphics). I prefer to play healers and swift and stealth characters and they tend to be designed as females in many games. For the rest of the video game industry, we need more smart, clever & non-sexualized characters (Chell from Portal is a favorite of mine.)

I am drawn to either complex problem-solving or plot-driven games (for the record, grinding is BORING) or overly simple ones where I can disconnect for 15 minutes and clear my head (casual games). Kids - little girls included - don't really have this life experience within them yet to know what to gravitate to. Early exposures to things that seem anti-girl or at least pro-boy can sharply alter their views on not just the games or computers, but the other uses of the tool (technology and computers).

My earliest use of a computer was in high school and some boring monotonous COBOL class. I wanted to create things and write, not program a computer to become a calculator. I was instructed to take a typing class instead. Granted this was in the mid/late 80s, so there was a stronger bias against women and technology than there is now.

As I still need to finish up my article, I'm just going to finish this up by stating that technology does not only equal coding and it does not only equal gaming.
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