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How One University Is Attracting Women to Computer Science


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A young woman in computer science.

Carnegie Mellon University is not alone; other institutions have also had success in addressing the gender gap.

Credit: Unsplash

The persistent underrepresentation of women in computing has gained the attention of employers, educators and researchers for many years. 

But despite this month's International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and in spite of numerous studies, reports and recommendations, we have seen little change in the representation of women in computer science (CS). Consider that only 17.9% of bachelor's degrees in computer science were awarded to women in 2016, according to the annual Taulbee Survey.

At Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), we do not believe the situation is intractable.

It's Not Rocket Science

By paying close attention to culture and environment and by taking a cultural approach rather than a gender-difference approach, our efforts continue to pay off. The percentage of women enrolling and graduating in CS at CMU has exceeded national averages for many years. 

The school gained attention when the percentage of women enrolled in the CS major reached 48%, 49%, and nearly 50% of all students in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

 

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