Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?

"When one looks at computer science in particular, however, the proportion of women has been falling. In 2001-2, only 28 percent of all undergraduate degrees in computer science went to women. By 2004-5, the number had declined to only 22 percent. Data collected by the Computing Research Association showed even fewer women at research universities like M.I.T.: women accounted for only 12 percent of undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering in the United States and Canada granted in 2006-7 by Ph.D.-granting institutions, down from 19 percent in 2001-2. Many computer science departments report that women now make up less than 10 percent of the newest undergraduates."

If the numbers continue to decline, diversity in computer science hiring may eventually mean everyone except for women. Our government bails out for past business failings yet barely flinches an eye when faced with future shortfalls.

Read the article here.

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Comment by Julia Stone on November 17, 2008 at 8:35pm
There is a book out called Smart is Cool, by Danica McKellar (remember Winnie from the Wonder Years?) She tries to address the problem of girls not wanting to study math which I think is at the heart of the problem you mention. She is facing an uphill battle & is a role model for sure.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/30/people.mckellar.ap/index.html
Comment by Dan Nuroo on November 17, 2008 at 9:14pm
Declining rates of IT enrolments are everywhere, and even more noticeably in women. The tech universities that I know of, have been doing set presentations to girls high schools to garner interest. With not much luck. It isn't that glamourous an industry, and parents have been trying to steer their kids away from IT with the volatility shown in the tech wreck. However, I've heard that the enrolments in forensic science have been sky rocketing. I think what we really need is a really cool, hip TV show that takes off and glamourises the industry... that would help. CSI? BONES esque.. Anyone up to writing one? i'm not sure Dilbert cuts it.
Comment by Steve Levy on November 18, 2008 at 7:11am
Julia-I was at the tail end of the Cold War study-engineering boom; I will remember forever the names of my female classmates because I could count them on one hand (for some reason civil engineering has more than their share of women).

Little has changed since then; smart has always been cool and similar books have been published each year. Books are nice but few parents or educators are reading them and even fewer are taking steps to promote the study of the sciences. Existing teachers are boring, parents don't have time, take your daughters to work days are failing.

But who is on the frontline seeing the dwindling numbers? We are. So Dan, it's time for...

RSI - Recruiting Science Investigations!

I think it's time for The Recruiting Edge to write the script - we've done it before.

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