The New York Times today would like to suggest that storytelling is powerful, that, in the whole art/life dynamic, it’s life that imitates art, not the other way around, at least not when it comes to kids imagining viable career paths for themselves. For instance, too many “Dilbert” perusals and Office Space viewings might be a reason that a high school girl stays away from computer science — amid all the representations of curvy-tie-wearing, rumple-haired dude computer programmers, there are few (if any) women, i.e. no characters that look like our imaginary high school girl with her thwarted ambitions of majoring in computer science.
There’s a well-researched, much-fretted-over dearth of women in the tech sector, more specifically in the field of computer science. According to the Times’ Catherine Rampell, the dismal numbers of women majoring in computer science, or becoming computer programmers don’t seem to be improving, either: just 0.4 percent of all female college freshmen say they plan on majoring in computer science, despite the fact that, as far as professional fields go, computer science and engineering offer college grads some of the most promising employment opportunities. We need computer programs and bridges, college, not another pack of aimless fedora-wearers chain-smoking Parliaments outside of the liberal arts building.