I find articles like this one from the Chicago Tribune so distressing for two reasons:
First, because they quote studies in a way that reinforces the same old stereotypes: that girls aren't interested in how computers work, that girls would rather be popular than be geeky, that using and loving computers means you're a geek. I wonder how much these articles continue to influence our perceptions? I wonder how many young women don't realize that computers are for geeks until they read something like this?
Second, because there continues to exist a "big drop-off in girls' participation in math and science in the middle school years." I guess I'd hoped the situation had improved since the day in 1985 when Caleb Wiggin spotted my AP Biology textbook in my book bag and said to me, "but you're not a sophomore, you're a freshman. Why are you taking AP Bio? You must be a big nerd." I was so mortified that as soon as he was gone, I turned the book over so the binding was no longer visible, so that no one could read the big dark green word, Biology. And I made a point of carrying my book that way the rest of the school year.