The gender gap is finally starting to close in computer science after years of male dominance. According to a 2005 report by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, when high school girls think of computer scientists they think of geeks, pocket protectors, isolated cubicles and a lifetime of staring into a screen writing computer code.
But there has been a turnaround:
- 520,700 women in 2013 work in computer systems design and related services. That’s 42 % more than 2003 workforce U.S. Labor Department statistics.
- Women entrepreneurs are launching tech businesses at 1.5 times the national average.
- At Carnegie Mellon, the percentage of incoming women enrolled in the computer science program has been rising since 2008, and is at 32 percent.
- M.I.T.’s figure is 30 percent.
- The University of California, Berkeley, and a few other universities have also redesigned their computer science courses to be less intimidating.
- Stanford is also working to make computer science more attractive to women. In 2012, just under 21 percent of undergraduate CS majors, the school’s most popular major, are women. The school’s goal is 50-50, men to women in CS.
Experts on the gender gap in computer science believe a multi-pronged strategy is needed to close it. The tactics would include the following:
- More-diverse programming activities, to seize the interest of middle-school girls, in the same way that role-playing video games are embraced by boys.
- A revamped introductory course, whether taken in college or as an Advanced Placement course in high school, to provide a broad overview of the real-world applications of computer science.
- Early exposure to research projects during the first year of college.
- Opportunities for undergraduates to interact with women who have enjoyed successful careers in technology.
Why Computer Science Needs More Women
Technology companies with more women in management positions have a 34% higher return on investments.
Check out this info graphic from www.bestcomputerscienceschools.net