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In 2011, the Editor-in-chief of the magazine IEEE Spectrum sent the following message to its readers:

“Please accept our sincere apologies for the headline in today’s Tech Alert: ‘With the Arduino, Now Even Your Mom Can Program.’ The actual title of the article is ‘The Making of Arduino.'”

What is your initial reaction to “Now Even Your Mom Can Program”?

  1. I don’t have a particular reaction.
  2. The sentence implies that young women are weak in technology.
  3. The sentence implies that older women are strong in technology.
  4. The sentence implies that older women are weak in technology.

Some people may not have a particular reaction, but you may have noticed that the sentence “Now Even Your Mom Can Program” reinforces a negative stereotype about older women. It conveys a subtle but pervasive message about their supposed lack of technical skills. It implies that if programming were difficult, they would not be able to do it.

Females of all ages receive subtle, negative “micromessages” such as the IEEE Spectrum headline in relation to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It is important for educators to understand the nature of these messages and the impact that they can have.

This online module of Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student will provide you with an awareness of micromessaging, micro-inequities, and micro-affirmations with a focus on the intersection of gender and STEM. You will learn how micromessages are determined by culture-based biases that can influence, often unconsciously, our behaviors and the behaviors of our students, particularly in course and career selection. You will learn about ways to interrupt micro-inequities and offset those inequities with micro-affirmations with the goal of applying what you learn to your own classrooms.

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