Girl Code- Being a Woman in Technology

Girl Code- Being a Woman in Technology

A monopoly in a world of binary

The annual Grace Hopper Conference, a Celebration for Women in Computing, is this upcoming week in Houston, Texas. It is the largest gathering of female technologists. All of that is great and wonderful, and it provides an exciting opportunity for women all over the United States to come together and celebrate their profession and their passion. However, one of the fundamental reasons GHC exists is actually a lot deeper than that. Women have been struggling for equal opportunity and representation in technology for decades, and it's so ingrained in our culture that oftentimes we don't realize it's a problem. Being a woman in technology, I want to bring light to this issue so you can join me in my quest to hack this gender gap.

Let's take a look at the numbers. A study from NPR reported on October 21st of 2014 notes that while the percentage of females studying medicine, law, and the physical sciences has increased since the 1980s, those studying computer science has decreased by nearly 20%. It's no question that getting equal representation of the sexes in STEM has been a problem for decades, but the numbers for computer science are dismally low. But why exactly is this?

Believe it or not, the problem roots itself in at a young age, about during the time when boys and girls start to differentiate between what is meant for boys and what is meant for girls. Children start becoming more and more hyper-aware of their gender and what behaviors and attitudes are associated with it on a societal level. Playing with computers, video games, and building things with LEGOS or what have you, are most commonly associated with boys, while superficial toys such as Barbie dolls are associated with girls. From a young age, it just doesn't feel right that a girl should be engaging in the same activities as boys. Oftentimes, girls don't even get the exposure to problem-solving activities at a young age, and don't figure out until later that it's something they really enjoy.

As time goes on, the problem doesn't get better. An analysis reported by Fortune Magazine of April 20th 2015 found that while female computer science students asked 26% more questions than male students, they answered, on average, 37% fewer questions. Women are also more likely to be interrupted, speak for shorter periods of time, and have their words be ignored by instructors. After talking to some friends about this issue, I found that they've experienced this personally and can validate the numbers. Girls on the whole have a less-than-stellar classroom experience, and it only persists on the other side of the graduation stage. Retention rates for women in technology are lower than ever, meaning that of those who stick it through and receive the college degree, several end up not staying.

One big culprit for low retention rates in computer science is something called "brogrammer culture", a laid-back, fraternity-style culture featuring lots of drinks, hours spent up coding, watching football and eating greasy pizza (I'm only slightly exaggerating). Tech companies with brogrammer culture can breed hostile environments for women. In such environments, when a woman tries to assume a leadership position and take charge as a man would, they are seen as uptight, aggressive, and unwilling to have fun.

Technology wants more women. Technology NEEDS more women. Technology is feeding the world, building into what it will be tomorrow, the day after, next week, next month, next year. Right now we're living in a world where the engineers of success are homogenous in every way. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates... you name it. By not pushing for more diversity, you willingly silence the voices of minorities, and you are giving the green light to tomorrow's world, a world that only answers the demands of men.

To provide solutions to the world's problems using technology, there needs to be all kinds of perspectives. Luckily, there are things both men and women can do to help solve this problem.

It doesn't take a hacker to hack this gender gap.

On my campus, we have a club called Computing For All, one that seeks to improve diversity and make these issues in technology known campus-wide and throughout our entire city. If you don't have one on yours, start one.

Help increase access to computer science targeting younger audiences such as elementary and middle schoolers. If we fight the stigma from a young age, more girls will express interest in computer science. Push for more computer science education in public middle schools and high schools so that students can learn without breaking the bank.

If you're in the industry, fight brogrammer culture, and make sure all voices are being heard in team meetings and social events.

And most of all, if you're a girl in computer science, don't give up and keep fighting for what you're passionate about. Maybe in your garage, over a mediocre bowl of ramen, you'll innovate the next world revolution. That's something a little better than mediocre.

Cover Image Credit: Fiction Veranda

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Iron Gold: A Solar System Torn Apart, Peace for What Cost?

The Latest Chapter in the Red Rising Universe

In a previous article, I reviewed Red Rising by Pierce Brown, you can find that review here. When I made that article, I had read the first book and was on the second one Golden Son, at the time. I finished it and tore through the third, Morning Star. I was too emotional over the last one to write about it, but now with the latest installment, I feel it is my duty to write about it. If you haven't read the first three, then I suggest you stop reading this article, as it will contain spoilers for them, but I will keep the bigger spoilers from the book out of this review.

Iron Gold, the newest book in the Red Rising universe is more than just another chapter in the life of the protagonist of questionable morality, Darrow of Lykos, The Reaper of Mars. Taking place ten years after the events of Morning Star, we see Darrow at 33 years old; older than his father ever was.

Despite hoping otherwise, the decade did not pass peacefully. it has been a long ten years of fighting a war the only way Darrow knows how; the absolutely craziest way possible with his elite group of miscreants: The Howlers, and his psychopathic guardian angel, Sevro. With Virginia au "Mustang" Augustus as Sovereign and Darrow as ArchImperator, their fledgling Republic faces enemies both internal and external. We know how Darrow and Mustang deal with external threats but are they out of their depth with the internal ones?

But this book is about more than just Darrow and his family. It expands the Red Rising universe, by taking the point of view of other people. Iron Gold follows the lives of those affected directly, somewhat indirectly, and indirectly by Darrow breaking the chains of The Society. In that respect, we have Lysander au Lune, whose life was forever changed after Darrow did what he did. The murder of his grandmother, The Sovereign of The Society at the hands of the Helldiver, has understandably put him in a difficult situation; forced to live as an outcast on the edge of the inner rim with Cassius au Bellona.

Next, we have Ephraim ti Horn, an ex-soldier Gray whose life was altered not by Darrow himself, but the legend he created. With the heart-breaking death of Trigg ti Nakamura, Holiday lets Darrow know that he left a fiancé behind; this is that man. He has grown cold since Trigg's death and pushes everyone away. With no love for the old society or the new Republic, he turns to a profession that can fill the void in his life. Thievery.

And we have Lyria, a Red from Lagalos. Her life was changed after the Republic freed the Martian mines and the Reds within them. Having Quicksilver's robots take their jobs, the Reds had to wait in camps before they could be transferred to a more stable location. That promise was one even Mustang couldn't deliver, as she and her family have been there in the camp for five more months than they should have been. And dangers other than poor rations and malaria-carrying mosquitoes loom over them.

This sort of plays off the quote that Fitchner said: "Some men have threads of life so strong that they fray and snap those around them..." This was said to have Darrow keep his distance from Sevro, fearing that his son will die if Darrow keeps him around. But Darrow proved that wrong in Morning Star, and that their threads are interwoven and made stronger for it. But their interwoven thread have changed the face of the Solar System.

This book is written in the same style Brown has cultivated in his last three books, but with each character having different lives, the tone and inflection shifts from Darrow's almost poetic cadence the series is famous for. And like the previous books, Pierce Brown writes scenes where time passes and characters still live and operate. When the book switches perspective, they still make plans and that sense of suspense to know what they're going to do is not lost in this book. It is in fact, intensified, there are scenes when everything is going wrong (a staple in this series) and suddenly we're pulled worlds away, to another sphere of problems with another set of people causing them.

And of course, we get to see characters that have lasted through the trilogy, some we love, some we hate, and even some we hate to love. If you've read the first three books then I shouldn't have to tell you about the lovable scamps Darrow keeps around, and I'm sure you have your favorites. Getting to see how they've changed (or stayed the same) is a treat in it of itself.

Pierce Brown seems almost determined to make is fans cry with this latest installment and he just might succeed. Pick a copy of Iron Gold, and get ready to break some chains, Howler!

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19 Country Songs That Will Make You Believe In Love Again

Heartache might seem inevitable right now, but let these songs remind you love does exist.

Heartache sucks. We've all been there.

Luckily, music is one of the things that helps me through some of these tough times. So if you've lost hope in boys, yourself, or just love in general, here are 19 country songs (as defined by the music industry, so don't @ me) that will help you get over that f*ckboy and make you believe in love again.

1. Waitin' On A Woman - Brad Paisley

I remember listening to this song in middle school and dreaming of the day I got myself a man like Brad Paisley. (I'm still dreaming by the way. Where he at?)

2. Show You Off - Dan + Shay

Before their newest track, "Tequila," Dan + Shay used to fly under the radar a lot. So we're throwin' it back a little for the OG fans, but it's definitely meant for this list regardless. If you haven't heard it yet, add it to your playlist ASAP.

3. A Woman Like You - Lee Brice

If this song doesn't give you the feels, then I really don't know how to help you out of your funk.

4. Eyes On You - Chase Rice

Freshman year of college, I jammed to Chase Rice's first album every single day on my mile walk to class. It's no surprise he's continued to put out songs that stay on repeat.

5. Wanted - Hunter Hayes

A CLASSIC. If you haven't heard this song, you've been living under a rock, I swear. Hunter Hayes had every girl SWOONING in middle and high school, OK? And you're lying to yourself if you think otherwise.

6. Look At You - Seth Ennis

New artist to watch! Seth Ennis is making moves in the country genre, and this is a good one to add to your playlist.

7. Marry Me - Thomas Rhett

Ugh. You already knew I had to include at least one T-Rhett song on here. I'm not sorry about it.

8. Tim McGraw - Taylor Swift

Throwin' it back to the old T-Swift! I loved this song when I was in middle school, and best believe I still do. I always wanted to know if my crush thought of me when hearing a certain song or driving past a certain place. (And honestly, I still do.)

9. Stay - Florida Georgia Line

Two summers ago, I spent an entire day and night scream-singing this song at the top of my lungs with one of my best friends on our way to and from an FGL concert almost 2 hours away. This one tugs at the heartstrings, so be careful.

10. In Case You Didn't Know - Brett Young

While I usually gravitate towards a song with a beat, when I'm feelin' down, sometimes a slow track is just what I need. Give this one a shot. It'll remind you there are some good guys out there.

11. Head Over Boots - Jon Pardi

Oh, Jon Pardi. How could I not include this track on the list? It's never a song that's on my everyday playlist, but when it comes on, best believe I'm singing along.

12. Nothin' Like You - Dan + Shay

Another Dan + Shay classic that I just had to include. Super catchy, and the lyrics are too cute.

13. Our Song - Taylor Swift

When I was in 8th grade, I slow danced with my crush to this song, and high key, I wanted it to be our song (because how cute would that have been?).

14. Just Wanna Love You - Hudson Moore

Another catchy, upbeat jam to get you out of your post-heartache slump. This one will have you feelin' all warm and fuzzy in no time.

15. All On Me - Devin Dawson

This song has been on the charts for awhile, but obviously for good reason. The lyrics are adorable, so if for some reason you haven't had a chance to listen, what are you doing?

16. All-American Girl - Carrie Underwood

I actually forgot this song existed until I thought long and hard about which Carrie track I wanted to include. Is this not the most adorable song? The storyline is precious and I get the feels every time.

17. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett

Remember earlier when I said I had to include at least one T-Rhett? Yeah, this track is why I couldn't stop at just one.

18. I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young

Another jam that's been on the charts for a bit. Super catchy and can easily be added to any car jams playlist. Although, I don't recommend running any red lights like Chris. (Ha. I'm hilarious.)

19. Already Callin' You Mine - Parmalee

Also forgot this song existed, but when I was scanning through the archives of all my country playlists, I was reminded of this one. Definitely worth listening to.

F*ckboys will be f*ckboys. Don't let them affect the way you think about or strive for love. Heartache might seem inevitable right now, but let these songs remind you that love does in fact exist.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | danandshay

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