With only 18% of women earning computer science bachelor's in the US, there is a gender imbalance issue. According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, 57% of women participate in the labor force (2017). 26% of women are employed in computer and mathematical occupations; 3% are African-American, 5% are Asian, and 1% are Hispanic.
There is a lack of exposure to computer science and engineering concepts in middle and high schools in underserved communities. The Black and Hispanic communities make up only 4% and 5% of the overall tech workforce respectively.
The amount of technology education in K-12 schools is insufficient for the amount of work needed in STEM. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that from 2019 to 2029 there will be a 3.9 percent increase in STEM employment. Along with minimal technical training, there are also teachers and parents steering underserved students away from tech-focused classes. This strategy worsens the challenges with isolation, stereotyping, and confidence within these individuals. If we can help change these dynamics, we can change the culture and climate of today's tech companies. Here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, there are some computer science and engineering programs for students, but they are expensive and on the north side of the metroplex. Parents who can afford these classes are more likely to choose this field because of their built-in connections. For example, males have easy access to role models because their professors and co-workers look like them. With our staff being black women in the IT field, we have our own experiences of what happens when there is a lack of diversity. In a male-dominated field, disrespect or exclusion from discussion was not unusual. These things can make one feel isolated and uncertain in one's abilities.
Only a few states require that all secondary schools "OFFER" computer science classes, but those same states do not "REQUIRE" students to take them. Texas is one of those states that offer, but do not require. Our main focus is to peak students' interest to where they voluntarily choose to take these classes.
About 60% of classroom technology use is passive, such as watching videos or reading websites, while only 32% is active, such as coding, producing videos, or performing data analysis. It's time that we stop being USERS of technology and become CREATORS of technology.