Just because you don’t consider yourself tech savvy, that doesn’t mean that your daughter won’t thrive in the technology field. A recent survey conducted by TechGirlz, in partnership with Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, offers a deeper understanding of the role parents play in their daughters’ engagement in technology. The fourth annual survey polled more than 1,000 participants — girls and parents — exploring the influences and relationships with technology overall for both groups.
The survey found that girls can thrive in technology, even when their parents aren’t tech savvy. They’re at least as interested in technology as those whose families do consider themselves tech savvy. Of families where parents report a low affinity with technology, 86 percent of girls are excited about the subject. And where parents report a high affinity with technology, 88 percent of girls are excited about it.
Other findings include:
- 86 percent of girls felt encouraged in their interest in technology by their parents.
- Girls felt slightly more supported by their fathers (94 percent) than their mothers (85 percent).
- 100 percent of girls from Hispanic families felt encouraged by their parents to learn about tech, compared to 92 percent from black families, 87 percent from white families, and 85 percent from Asian families.
- 47 percent of girls say friendship drives their interest in tech compared to only 10 percent for career potential.
- 33 percent of parents point to career potential as the primary motivator for tech learning.
- 100 percent of girls in sixth grade expressed interest in tech compared to 88 percent of girls in eighth grade.
“This survey shows that, contrary to popular belief, girls are interested in tech, and that they will seek out instruction regardless of their parents’ affinity with technology,” says TechGirlz founder and CEO Tracey Welson-Rossman. “It should reassure parents they can set their daughters on the path to a rewarding, empowering career in tech with support and encouragement, even if they do not understand the subject matter themselves.”
The survey was the first to match responses from girls and parents to learn specifically about parents’ role in their daughters’ interest in technology.
“Most of the information available about relationships among parents, children and STEM is based on anecdotal evidence,” says Murugan Anandarajan, Ph.D., professor of management information systems at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. “Using past research models, we designed one of the first empirical studies to bring validity to this important topic. The results represent an initial step toward understanding how girls’ perceptions of technology can be influenced and shaped within their home environments. Our findings begin a powerful conversation for parents, showing that, regardless of their relationship with technology, they can develop strategies to promote and encourage girls’ technology interests at a young age.”
Encouraging Girls to Pursue Tech
In the United Kingdom, research conducted by PwC found that women account for only 15 percent of employees in STEM fields. Unfortunately, there are few signs that this number will increase without extra action, as only 15.8 percent of undergraduates in STEM fields are women.
So how can parents take extra action? By encouraging their daughters to consider pursuing technology, whether they themselves are tech-savvy or not. There are programs that can help, including Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Girl Day), a growing movement to inspire girls’ futures by encouraging them to explore this exciting and rewarding career so they learn they have a place in engineering a better world.
Parents can also encourage their daughters to consider the TryEngineering Summer Institute, a two week program during which teens explore the field of engineering, gaining hands-on experience and seeing and hearing from engineers first hand. It’s perfect for girls who already have a connection with technology, as well as those just thinking of trying it out for the first time. Learn about the 2019 Summer Institute program and register today!