Although women pioneered the computer industry alongside men, they are under-represented in the field. Empowering young women to shape society’s technological future on equal footing is what a computer camp can do for girls.
Computer camp addresses the large gender gap that exists today in technology and in particular in computer science. This gender gap has been widely discussed in recent years, as evidenced by statistics.
In the United States, 56% of students who take the Advanced Placement calculus test are female. However, just 10% of computer science test-takers and 22% of physics test-takers are female.
On the other hand, it is important to note that there is no apparent gender gap in the results of the 2001 Connecticut Mastery Test. Boys and Girls in grades four, six and eight scored equally (within 1%) in mathematics. This data suggest that girls do as well as boys in science and mathematics, but do not elect a course of study in technology.
Similar statistics are prevalent at computer camps coast to coast: 90% boys and 10% girls attend computer camps. This 10% figure carries forward to girls’ enrollment in high school AP computer science classes and then to schools of engineering. More than ever, today’s young girls will grow up in a world where technology is tied to every political, social and economic decision they make. Yet they are not being prepared for it.
There is no simple answer but there are some ways to change this statistic. Parental influence, opportunities and priorities are definitely important in channeling girls toward technology. Attendance at computer camp at an early age is another way to improve this statistic. Girls who attend computer camp enjoy it as much as the boys, and do at least as well as the boys.
The long term effects of computer camp are to stimulate interest among girls in computer technology, to offer a suitable basis for subsequent study of computer science in high school and college, to stimulate interest among girls in careers in technology, to instill confidence in the girls that they can indeed master technical concepts and to help shape tomorrow’s female leaders in the field of technology. This is all important as we live in a world in which technology affects our environment, standard of living and quality of life.
National Computer Camps is held at Fairfield University is now registering for the summer. The camp is for those ages 7-18 of all levels from beginner to super advanced. In addition the campers take part in recreational facilities including swimming and tennis. For an illustrated brochure and a reference list emailinfo@NCCamp.com, visit NCCamp.com or call 203-710-5771.
Dr. Michael Zabinski, a professor at Fairfield University, is the executive director of National Computer Camps, Inc.