Although "my child's education" is the reason most often given by parents for purchasing a home computer, girls aren't necessarily getting the same level of encouragement and experience in computer literacy, says Roberta Furger, a columnist and contributing editor at PC World. She backs this up with disturbing statistics regarding the gender gap in computer education for kids. While almost 65 percent of all jobs require computer and Internet skills, only 16 percent of the kids online are girls. This book not only describes the problem of gender inequity in computer education but it offers many strategies and ideas to help correct that problem.
As Furger sees it, although there have been great steps forward in women's education, many girls have been left feeling uncomfortable with computers. The pattern is similar to the ways in which they are dissuaded, subtly or overtly, from pursuing math, science, and sports. This contributes to women lagging behind in the job market. To figure our how to break this cycle, Furger looks at both computer education and recreation for girls. She then makes recommendations on how to make meaningful changes.
The book is divided into two main sections. The first half is "Jane@Home," which looks at how girls relate to computers in the family context. One comment Furger says she hears a lot from girls is that they have to compete with brothers who get the lion's share of family computing time. Another problem is the lack of software designed to gain a girl's interest and even harassment in male-dominated forums. The second part of the book, "Jane@School," demonstrates how even in the most wired schools, girls can get the short end of the stick in terms of computer access and encouragement to pursue computer-related careers.
Throughout the book, Furger shares the stories of dozens of girls who are representative of her research into the impact of technology on children. While she does not spare her readers the serious consequences of this gender gap, Furger's account of girls who are making headway in computing, and the parents and teachers who are helping them, presents a more hopeful, positive model. --Elizabeth Lewis
From Library Journal
The term computer nerd has a male connotation because it isn't acceptable for girls to be computer experts, notes the author. Consequently, many girls are growing up with insecurities about their computer skills, and there is a shortage of women entering the field of computer science. Furger, a contributing editor for PC World and an expert in the field of children's software, interviewed girls, parents, and teachers to develop strategies for helping girls have equal access to technology. She found that societal bias is pervasive and that change requires conscious action: mother-daughter computer workshops, games designed for girls, girls-only computer clubs, wired schools, and teacher in-service. The resource list provided here includes girl-friendly online sites and age-appropriate software, computer camps, and professional organizations that support women and computers. Highly recommended for teacher in-service and for public and academic libraries.?Laverna Saunders, Salem State Coll. Lib., Mass.
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