Public institutions often get blamed for problems rooted in obsolete value systems because those public institutions are run by people whose conceptions of the roles men and women should play are rooted in obsolete value systems, sometimes rooted so deeply they don't know they're there. It's not that women "don't feel it's their place" to work with technology. I don't know ANY women in this day and age who think that you shouldn't do something just because you're a certain gender. And speaking as a woman who was given every opportunity as a child (we've had anywhere from two to five computers at my house ever since 1980) to develop into a master hacker and chose to become a writer/editor, not all women are going to be interested in technology, no matter what parents, teachers, etc. try.
That said, I think there are things that subtly discourage girls from getting interested in technology. One of those is the disparities in how teachers treat boys and girls in class. There have been studies (don't have time to find them online at the moment, please believe me that they do exist!) over the years that show that often, boys are called on more by teachers—even female teachers-in many subjects, which can definitely undermine girls' self-esteem, especially in subject areas that are already male-dominated, like math and science. Then there's the whole puberty issue, and wanting to be like everybody else, or at least not wanting to be constantly picked on by everybody else. Kudos to those people apparently genetically gifted with such a strong sense of self-confidence that the taunts, whispers and other harassments by classmates never made any difference to how they lived their daily life. Most people are not so lucky, and girls are under enormous pressures as adolescents to find a boyfriend and look pretty (not that this gets any less with age). Girls learn through a variety of ways that these are the important things in life and that being smart, especially smarter than boys, and doing well in classes, especially ones that boys do well in, is not going to win them the boyfriend or the popularity contest.
These are just some of the things I can think of that impede women's progress in the technology field. There are probably lots of others that I don't have time to think of right now. I mentioned these specifically because it is within the educational system that they're most apparent. Yes, they are societal problems, but you can't separate the educational system from our society. It's formed by society and in turn helps to form society. I think this article was important because it helps point out that first of all, there is a distinct difference in the amount of men and women involved in the technology fields, which I have rarely seen mentioned in major news media, and second of all, tries to pinpoint some of the origins of this discrepancy. Recognizing this is the first step toward trying to rectify it, if indeed it is a societal problem and not a genetic/biological/whatever difference. But how will we know which it is unless we try to level the playing field in all other areas?
Here endeth my rant.
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