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7/24/11

Girls: Embrace Your Inner Nerd!

I read a great article today from Brittney Wilson at My Reality Tech called 'Little Girls Need to Learn to Code'. The article talked about the lack of females in the technology world, and noted that by teaching girls about technology at a young age, parents could be setting their daughters up to have lucrative, successful careers. Not only that, but they will be contributing to an increased representation of empowered women in the world of technology. Simply put: Techie Girl Power!

This article got me to thinking; I'm obviously a technology nerd myself. By no means am I a hardcore coder, but I have dabbled in it and through my daily personal and professional life, I am constantly using technology and exploring new aspects of it. Now, I don't intend to sit my daughter down and push coding lessons upon her. Let's face it, web coding is an 'acquired taste' regardless of whether you are a boy or a girl. However, as she grows, if she happens to start displaying some of her father's nerdier tendencies, I will support her every step of the way. And if she ultimately decides she wants to pursue a career in something that might typically be described as nerdy, then I will celebrate it and cheer her on.

Dammit! Another Improper Neutralization of Special Elements error!
There's no denying that over the past few decades, women have made amazing strides in the professional world, and little girls now live in a world where they really do have the opportunity to do anything they want to do. However, there still exists a lot of pressure on young girls to fulfill the standard 'girly girl' mold. For every powerful woman like Anita Borg (founder of the Institute for Women and Technology) that took the 'less-traveled path' in life, there's a dozen cookie-cutter dimwits like Paris Hilton who convince young girls that the important things in life are money, partying, and dogs that fit in purses.

Now, of course, Ava could ultimately have no desire to pursue the nerdier side of life. She has shown a fair share of 'girly girl' tendencies thus far, so as far as I know, she may have every desire to be a cheerleader and yearn for the title of prom queen. Fair enough. As I said, I will support her with every ounce of my being. But regardless of what path she chooses in life, I will always remind her of one thing: You have the freedom to do whatever you want with your life. Pay no attention to what others tell you to do or what others tell you is the 'right' way. If she wants to be a web developer, so be it. Maybe she'll want to be an engineer. Maybe she'll throw everybody off and decide she wants to be a Air Force pilot. A botanist. An artist. The options are infinite, and that's important for her to know.

This blog post serves as my official call for all little girls out there to embrace whatever calling or desire they have inside of them. Regardless of how outside the box or nerdy it may seem, reach out to it with open arms and explore it. You owe it to yourself to do what you love, even if it's not the typical 'girl fare'. Of course, if enough of you start pursuing these careers, maybe the tables will eventually be turned and your love WILL become typical girl fare.

And on the same note, to you parents: support your daughters! It's that simple. Be there for them and give them your confidence and love no matter what they hope to accomplish. Now of course, there are extreme exceptions: if your daughter's goal is to start a successful meth lab, it's okay to intervene and put your foot down. But I digress; the important message is that our daughters have incredible educational and professional opportunities available to them now. Let's do everything we can as mothers and fathers to not only ensure that they succeed, but ensure they succeed while doing something they truly love, regardless of how it might be labeled.

3 comments:

Awesome! I love where you went with this!

Be yourself and live up to your potential, even if that means being a nerdy girl!

:)

@The Nerdy Nurse Perfectly stated! I suppose the title could have been 'Girls: Embrace Your Inner YOU', but this had a better ring to it! And either way, the message is still the same.

Good write up Pat. I agree with it 100%.

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