So you like building things, huh? The excitement, the innovation, the challenge, the joy of when it works, I completely get it. I grew up constantly building paper structures and lego cities, and Cyberchase on the PBS kids network was by far my favorite show. Once I was old enough to know what programming was, my parent signed me up for a class through girl scouts and soon enough, when I started 7th grade, I joined my school’s robotics team and never looked back.
I’ve loved STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) all my life, but here’s the thing I want you to be aware of: people will tell you you’re not good enough, that the robot kits are just “boy toys” and dolls are just “girl toys”. People will be surprised by your knowledge in STEM fields and try to prove they know more. People won’t always give you the credit you deserve and assume you “tag along for the boys,” but not because they’re jerks, they’re just not used to seeing girls like you being so excited about these things. After all, when was the last time you saw a female programmer on Disney channel?
Despite what these people tell you, I want you to know something: You are just as good and worthy as the other boys. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to, and no, boys are not smarter, they’re just often told that they are. You may need to work harder, but you will be made stronger and better prepared for whatever’s next. The people who underestimate you will often find themselves eating their words, so try not to let them get the better of you.
So please, be unapologetic about your passions, because little girls like you grow up to do amazing things. Ada Lovelace. Grace Hopper. Sally Ride. Rosalind Franklin. Edith Clarke. Literally every programmer on the first missions to space. You bring a different perspective to the table, one that companies desperately need, and they’re just starting to realize that (and I’m so excited).
You belong in this field just as much as any other boy, even when it doesn’t always seem that way. I dream of the day where you can confidently walk into a competition, classroom, meeting, etc. and feel like you have nothing more to prove than your peers do. Until then, keep doing what you’re doing. Take advantage of every opportunity you find. Be patient and persevere. You are going to do amazing things. I’d say good luck, but you don’t need it 😉