Youth Programs

Youth programs often make one of two common mistakes: they assume boys and girls are born different from each other and must be treated dramatically differently, or they assume they are exactly the same and must be treated exactly the same. Neither is true. Boys and girls are not inevitably different, but they are socialized to have different experiences and, sometimes, interests. Youth programs, for example, should not assume that girls don’t like to use computers and deny them the opportunity because, somehow, girls’ brains just aren’t “hard-wired” to understand computer technology. On the other hand, they have to recognize that many girls won’t compete to sit at the computer terminal if there are boys trying to get there first. Bottom line: the program should provide opportunities to use computers to both boys and girls but address use in a way that ensures the girls won’t have to shove the boys aside.