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Why Girls Should Create Video Games

Why are video games so violent? The ones I’ve seen remind me of the 4th of July, with everything exploding, buildings, cars, airplanes, men and women. Kill, kill, and kill for sport and entertainment. Video games seem to be mostly a boy thing — viewed by young boys and created by big boys. I believe that if more videos games were created by women, the violence in these games — especially against women — would be rapidly toned down. There’s one catch, however. To design these games women have to become computer scientists. Yes, they have to enter a field, which has increasingly been dominated by men, and it’s getting worse, not better. While enrollment in math, science and even engineering has been growing for women, computer science is moving the other way. In 1985, 38 percent of computer scientists were women. That figure has plummeted to 17 percent in some years. A group of Vermont women formed a new networking organization for women in science, math and engineering and finance to encourage more women. A group of Harvard students recently revived a long dormant organization, Women in Computer Sciences. Why? They discovered that the percentage of women in the field fell from 42 percent in the class of 2013, to 22 percent in the class of 2014. Why is computer science a good field for women? For one thing, that’s where the jobs are, and for another, the pay is better than for many jobs, and finally, it’s easier to combine career and family. But that’s not all. Yes, you may get a job at Facebook or Microsoft, but there’s more at stake. “If you completely shut out the entire feminine perspective on the world, you are going to have a different set of products,” the president of Harvey Mudd College, Maria Klawe, told Judy Woodruff on the PBS News Hour. The presence of women in computer labs will determine what kind of medical devices get created, what kind of products we buy. Boys often get attracted to computer science because they like to watch video games. When women begin to create those games, more girls will begin to watch them too, and by the time they start college, they’ll be hooked, not only on playing games, but also on a career in computer science. This is how greater gender equality can enrich all of our lives. Originally published at the Huffington Post.

Madeleine M. Kunin is the author of The New Feminist Agenda, and

Pearls, Politics and Power.

Pushing Forward With Paid Leave, Workplace Flexibility for All

“Five of us were meeting for lunch and reminiscing about the women’s movement. ‘I was never one of those angry women,’ one said. ‘I’m still angry,’ I blurted. My reaction surprised both me and my friends. Where did that come from? A source I hadn’t tapped before. Upon reflection, I realized that I’m not angry […] Read More..

The Business Case for Workplace Flexibility: How Employers and Employees Can “Have it All”

“Job Killer.” Those are the two words you are most likely to hear uttered by most American CEOs when confronted with proposals to enact family-friendly work policies. This was true in the battles for earned sick days, paid maternity leave, increases in the minimum wage, and even workplace flexibility. Sure, there are exceptions. In fact, […] Read More..

A Cathedral to Democracy

The Strafford Town House is commanding. It is easily mistaken for a church because of the  white spire that reaches for the sky.  Set up on a steep hill; the giant structure forces you to look up to it, from the more fittingly modest village common. Now boasting a population of 1,045, what were the […] Read More..

Spring Has Returned to Vermont

Who could have thought that May would bring us so many hues of green? We feel refreshed just by slowly gazing at the trees in all their newborn shades. For a brief period, our thoughts can turn away from the bold black headlines of the daily news, and our ears can silence the angry voices […] Read More..

Same-sex marriage

If anyone still clings to the belief that social change is impossible in this country they have to think again after President Obama’s announcement yesterday that he supports the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry. Yes, support for gay marriage has been growing among young people, but the country remains deeply divided on […] Read More..