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The Gender Gap in Computer Science Is Hurting ­.s. Businesses


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A female scientist.

New research has found that women's share of the U.S. computer science workforce continues to fall, despite efforts to expand computing education for children and young adults.

Credit: Kaufman.org

Women's share of the computer science workforce continues to fall despite efforts to expand computing education for children and young adults, according to research from Accenture and Girls Who Code.

The computing-skills gap has widened, with 500,000 open computing jobs currently in the U.S. and fewer than 40,000 new graduates, 7,000 of whom are women. Women comprise less than 24% of the computing workforce, down from 37% in 1995, and that figure is expected to drop if changes are not made to the way computer science is introduced to girls.

Research shows girls are 26% more likely to study computer science if they have a female teacher, while the teacher's gender does not matter for boys. Girls exposed to computer games at an early age also are four times more likely to enter the field. Once girls enter high school, it can be even more challenging to sustain their interest in computer science.

It is important for girls to see female role models in the field, so female computer science teachers and mentors can help draw more girls into computing.

To retain female computer science students in college, schools should partner with businesses and arrange on-campus speaking and mentorship programs featuring women.

From The Washington Post
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