IBM Camp apparently has a camp which tries to get teen girls interested in technology. That's great - it really is. But their approach seems something like "hey, let's get women to learn about computers by showing them how to look up recipes!" The article scares me. Here's a few snippets:
Look! Pretty pink flowers!
... they watched a scientist from M.I.T. (Massachusettes Institute of Technology) dip a pink carnation into a vat of liquid nitrogen, and then shatter the frozen flower against the side of a tank.
Let's hold hands and make bracelets!
... girls learned how to make "binary bracelets" (of beads that sported ones and zeroes on them)
Girls like cooking and candy!
The girls learned ... how to make bubble gum
Seriously - whatever works to get girls more interested in technology, and I do applaud their efforts to try to look at it from a girl's perspective. I just question if this is really the way to get girls interested in learning about technology, any more so than little girls playing a barbie computer game would want to learn how to program. Instead, the camp seems to just reinforce existing stereotypes.
Contrast the image of pink flowers, making bracelets and cooking candy with the 7th and 8th grader's essays:
The application process involved an essay in which the girls imagined an invention that would improve their worlds. Yehia wrote about a biodegradable trash bag. Gidla wrote about a USB-based application-specific device designed to help organize her schedule. Bahnham wrote about a double-sided television that would allow family members watch two different shows, while still spending time together in the same room.
Call me crazy - but it sounds like these 7th and 8th grade girls might want to do more than make bracelets, cook candy and play with pretty pink flowers.
Way to go IBM - you've taken geeky girls and shown them how to do things "more appropriate" for their gender.