It’s more important than ever to keep moving forward in terms of progress for women in the workplace. Here are nine career paths women should follow in order to help shed, rather than perpetuate, gender roles and assumptions.
1. Computer Programmer
According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women currently make up “approximately 26% of the 3,816,000 computing-related occupations”—a statistic derived from the most recent available Bureau of Labor Statistics population survey results. Apparently the advent of the personal computer in the 1980s had a lot to do with this: at the time, computers were associated with nerd culture, which was more often associated with young men than with young women. A study conducted by researchers at Ohio University found “a surprising number (31%) of women in IT majored in the arts, social sciences, or humanities as undergraduates and entered the IT field through non-traditional means, primarily as a result of on-the-job experiences.” Many of the women reported being encouraged by a male professor or colleague. Another common factor was the discussion of financial incentive as being integral to their decision process.
Encouragingly, a computer science degree is often not a factor in women’s decisions to pursue a career in the IT field. There are national nonprofits like Girls Who Code that strive to minimize the gap; however, the gap still exists. Therefore, it’s a great idea to take online classes on coding and other IT-related skills on the side. Moreover, there is a high job placement rate for many of these programs, which makes the proposition even more enticing.