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The State of Women in Computer Science


A young women in a computer science class.

In recent years, a number of top colleges have made efforts to draw women into the field with revamped introductory courses that make the technology less intimidating for those that enter college without prior programming experience.

Credit: iStock

Intersecting factors are preventing women from pursuing and persisting in computer science majors. Contributors include a dearth of exposure to computer science and engineering in middle school and high school, while well-meaning educators or parents are steering girls away from tech-focused classes; a general lack of awareness of potential tech careers also plays a key role.

The Anita Borg Institute's Elizabeth Ames says many colleges realize the structure of their computer science programs--with entry-level courses assuming students are already well-versed in programming--are partly culpable for women's under-representation.

Research also found when a male and a female student enter a computer science course at the same level, the male thinks he is more skilled than he is, and the female thinks she is less skilled than she is.

Fewer women on computer science faculty also is discouraging female students from continuing with a major, while some students are not progressing to graduate school because of lucrative technology job offers.

From TechRepublic
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