Former Reddit CEO, Ellen Pao, once said: “We need to understand that if we all work on inclusion together, it’s going to be faster, broader, better, and more thorough than anything we can do on our own.” So, now the question is: why are there barely any females within the data science field? As some of you guys know, my platform is promoting girls within the field of data science. It is a fairly long story of why I chose this platform but that is why I saved this story for this post.

In the summer of 2018, I was working as a camp counselor at a summer camp dedicated to children with mental and physical disabilities. The camp had been running smoothly without any panic attacks or medical emergencies arising from the campers. I had gotten a great perspective about what life was like for these children with disabilities and how they were able to turn the darkness from their lives to brightness. However, on one particular Tuesday, a kid that I was taking care of, out of nowhere, started having a panic attack and breaking down. When I asked him what was wrong, he immediately replied with tears running down his eyes that he felt that kids like him could not be successful in school as a result of the lack of support in the system. When I finally got him to calm down, he returned to his normal self with cheer and joy.

That night, when I got home, I thought deeply about what had happened earlier in the day and realized that what he said was true. Therefore, I wanted to find a way to help with this issue to show people about these inequalities. After searching the internet for a long time, I turned to a subject that would be perfect to analyze this issue: data science. I quickly searched the internet for resources for me to learn about data science and got in touch with an online chat specifically geared towards data science. As I asked them about where I could learn data science, they, without hesitation, told me that because I am a female, I should find a different path because women weren’t strong enough to enter this field. Even in school, the males would tell me that women need to enter paths that are feminine and suitable for “dumber minds”. After I read that sentence, a sense of disappointment and dejection ran over me. Over the next year, I refrained from even reading the words “data science” and almost gave up on it. 

Until, the next year, I met a data scientist working at a hospital and she encouraged me to get back into the field. With the support of her and my family, I managed to write a 12-page data science research paper about the education inequality in our system today which was published in a national journal. This experience taught me that women are stronger than they believe and it convinced me to advocate for this cause. 

Here are some statistics/facts about women in data science:

  • Women only fill up 15% of data science roles
  • Men got higher pay than women 59% of the time for the exact same data science jobs
  • More than 40% of women in data science experience harassment for being in the field
  • 51% of women abandon their data science training altogether and move on to other occupations

I hope that I can be a benefactor in this cause to show females that they are just as strong as their male counterparts. I want to be able to help females get the necessary resources needed and help them gain enough confidence to go into this field. I am so excited to be able to promote this platform this year. Thank you so much for reading about my platform!

Warmest regards,

Mandi

Miss Teenage South Calgary 2021

Written by: Mandi