Educators and Parents
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What Works with Girls: Messages

As the famous advertising adage says, "Kodak sells film, but they don't advertise film. They advertise memories." Our goal is to sell computing, but not by advertising computing. What we want to advertise is an exciting and meaningful career.

We are creative. We unleash our imaginations to create music apps, movie animation, and fashion design software.

We connect people. We design social media to bring people
together—for friendship, entertainment, or to mobilize
around a great cause.

We change the world. We develop medical software that saves lives and design programs that track the environment to help protect our planet.

We're about passion. We believe in the potential of computing to build a better world. We're young women with the power and passion to make a difference.

Messages That Resonate

In addition to a national marketing survey, the Dot Diva initiative conducted numerous focus groups with teens to test what messages about computing attracted them. Here's what we found works with girls.

Computing Is Creative

Talk to girls about computing as an art as well as a science, as intuitive as well as logical. Creative problem solving in computing has led to some of the most visionary and original contributions to art, music, film, education, and culture. It's a great outlet for someone with imagination and an eye for design.

Computing Connects People

Emphasize the social nature of computing, which appeals to girls in two ways:

  • The work environment. Computing is highly collaborative and relies on the power of teamwork. It's about working together with great people.
  • The work itself. Computing is about bringing people together. The interactive power of new media and technology allows us to share our collective knowledge and experiences any time, anywhere, on a local or global level.

Computing Changes the World

To the girls in our focus groups, this was the most compelling message of all. Idealistic and socially conscious, girls want to help people, give back to their communities, and make a difference in the world. Talk to them about how computing is a powerful tool for change. It can save lives, fight disease, protect the environment, improve education, and alleviate poverty.

Computing Is about Passion

Girls want to be passionate about their work—our marketing survey revealed that passion was their number-one job requirement. Tell girls that they can apply computing to whatever they love—whether it's art or astronomy, fashion or social justice. Offer them concrete examples of the incredible variety of great computing jobs. For instance, they can create:

  • GPS systems for people who are blind;
  • children's e-books with 3-D animated illustrations;
  • a social charity network that allows people to team up with others to support a great cause;
  • an app that retrieves samples of new songs and bands based on the kinds of music a listener loves;
  • mobile medical labs for humanitarian aid in disaster areas.

Almost every breakthrough in medicine, communications, science, and media depends on computing—these jobs generate passion and commitment. Convey that same passion in all your messages about computing. Girls will listen if you talk to them about careers that are important, relevant, and inspiring.

Then There's the Money and Job Market

It isn't the first thing you should mention, but job security and a great salary are important details with which to supplement the more idealistic messages about computing. Our marketing survey revealed that 48% of girls felt job security was very important, 38% wanted to work in a field with lots of job opportunities, and 39% were looking for a high salary. Emphasize that the job market for computing is at an all-time high and is projected to grow dramatically over the next decade. The average starting salary for a new graduate with a BS in computer science is $60,000. Not bad for a 22-year-old!