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The Gender Gap in Computer Science Research Won't Close for 100 Years


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Women in Tech Code-A-Thon

Big technology companies are facing increasing pressure to address workplace issues like sexual harassment and a lack of representation by women as well as minorities.

Women will not reach parity with men in writing published computer science research in this century if current trends hold, according to "Gender Trends in Computer Science Authorship," a new study from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

The enduring gender gap is most likely a reflection of the low number of women now in computer science, the study's authors say. It could also reflect, in part, a male bias in the community of editors who manage scientific journals and conferences.

The Allen Institute study analyzed more than 2.87 million computer science papers published between 1970 and 2018, using first names as a proxy for the gender of each author. The method gives a statistical indication of where the field is headed.

In 2018, the number of male authors in the collection of computer science papers was about 475,000 compared with 175,000 women.

The researchers tracked the change in the percentage of female authors each year and used that information to statistically predict future changes. There is a wide range of possibilities. The most realistic possibility is gender parity in 2137. But there is a chance parity will never be reached, the researchers say.

The study also indicated that men are growing less likely to collaborate with female researchers—a particularly worrying trend in a field where women have long felt unwelcome and because studies have shown that diverse teams can produce better research.

From The New York Times
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