The Bureau of Labor says that by 2026 we will be short 1.2 million engineers. Right now, the majority of developers are men. So presumably it’s a crisis that women are not in STEM.

Microsoft is thinking that filling the funnel with girls is the way forward. Microsoft decides the Wonder Woman movie has a female protagonist, so girls will identify with her. And Microsoft announces it will solve this engineering shortfall with Wonder Woman. Coding lessons for girls! Turn your tech skills into superpowers!

But the majority of people who saw the Wonder Woman movie were male. And, the majority of those viewers were ages 25-44. So Microsoft targeted girls who want to code with a character from a movie only 2% of girls saw.

Which is because it’s likely based on a porn fantasy. But whatever, as a gimmick for coding, Wonder Woman was a huge failure. Luckily we don’t need Microsoft to encourage girls to write code because girls do as well as boys in grade-school coding classes. And girls do as well as boys in computer science courses in college, but girls don’t stay in the major. They don’t like it.

A study from Accenture shows why: girls aren’t interested in the abstraction. “The content of coding projects is typically less engaging for girls, who often prefer health and real-world problem-solving challenges.”

This study is consistent with a study that asked Harvard Business School students what motivated them, and what was the best part of their work experience. Male students were more likely to say they were motivated by competition and female students were more likely to say they were motivated by collaboration.

Stuart Reges teaches computer science at University of Washington and he shows that women and men coded at the same rate until the 80s, when women began to have other professional opportunities. Now, Reges says that after decades of all sorts of initiatives, women are no more than 20% of tech workers in any country, even in societies with otherwise remarkable gender equity.

Finally, research also shows that the less power a woman has in society, the more likely she is to choose STEM. So instead of assuming girls are oppressed and therefore do not code, why not assume girls use their power to choose not to code?

Jacquelynne Eccles found that women primarily choose non-STEM careers because they have strengths that men often lack. Eccles found that if someone has high math skills and only moderate verbal skills, the person will choose a career in STEM. However if they have high math skills and high verbal skills, the person will choose a non-STEM career. Female math students were of course more likely to be in the group with high verbal skills. Eccles concludes that women who are good at math shift away from STEM because they have so many more career opportunities than men who are good at math.

Encouraging women to go into STEM is a waste of money. Any woman who wants to can study STEM. No one is stopping women. Women are choosing not to. So stop trying to get more women to go into STEM and just leave the women alone.

What we do need from the world is marketing that gives girls credit for making good choices. The real superheroes are the ones actually listening to girls, instead of telling girls that their goals aren’t the right ones.

Companies that have both men and women in high-level positions see improvements in productivity, innovation, safety, and profitability. Yet the number of women with jobs at the top is still decreasing.

You know why you would not want one of those jobs: 80-hour weeks, monthly travel, other people raising your children. But I wonder if you know the incredible lengths a company will go to attract and keep a woman who has reached a top position. These are stories I hear from women I coach and companies who hire me to recruit the type of women I coach. Read more

This week at the US Open Serena Williams drew attention to sexist rules governing women’s attire by wearing a tutu on the court. It turned out this was the perfect outfit for her final match.  Read more

I am so sick of people telling me I don’t have Asperger’s syndrome. I am also so sick of people not listening to me when I tell them their daughter has Asperger’s.

Women who have Asperger’s do not look like men who have Asperger’s. Men who have Asperger’s look like socially incompetent men. Women who have Asperger’s look like neurotypical men. Of course, this is just a nice way of saying that women with Asperger’s are incompetent women. But the truth is that neurotypical men still look like social outcasts compared to neurotypical women. Read more

Maybe you have not said all of these phrases, but you have said one of these, and you need to own up to it. Because all the #metoos of the world are not going to change things without you taking personal responsibility for the ways you put down other women. Read more

I’m in the Houston airport waiting to fly home and I am sad that I’m not with my kids. It doesn’t feel fun to fly around the country making deals when you have a home life that depends on you. Which is why most women who have control over their lives don’t travel for work. Read more

Melissa is not going to move in with the next guy she dates. Even though Melissa and I are both completely incompetent at all things social, we can see that Melissa has moved in with three guys who were never going to marry her. So part of her new dating plan is she has to stop doing that. Read more

In case you ever doubted how incredible the comments section of this blog is, Melissa found out her boyfriend was cheating on her from reading the comments section. Here.

And then she did what most people do when they discover their partner is cheating: Attempted to live in denial. Read more