[UbuntuWomen] Why are there more females in Computer Science in UP?

Anna Baik annaheyonbaik at gmail.com
Sun Mar 2 13:25:48 GMT 2008


On  Sun, 2 Mar 2008 "Caroline Ford" <caroline.ford.work at googlemail.com> wrote:
>
>  On 02/03/2008, Yolynne Medina <yolynne at gmail.com> wrote:
>  > I'd like to know more of your thoughts about this blog post.
>  >
>  > http://guro.edublogs.org/2008/03/01/why-are-there-more-females-in-computer-science-in-up/
>
>  I don't think girls being more comfortable than boys with computers
>  leads to more girls than boys doing computer science. I didn't do
>  computer science (I did linguistics) but I imagine that the gender
>  ratio in the UK is as bad as ever.
>
>  My lug has a handful of women - but I'm not sure *any* of us actually
>  work in the industry.  I think 99% of the guys do, though.

Yes, the gender ratio in the UK is as bad as ever (worse even).  Both
in terms of comp sci undergrads and also in terms of women in the IT
industry.

I'd agree that I don't see that being more comfortable with computers
should lead to doing computer science - in fact, it seems a bit of an
odd assumption to me.  If more girls passed their driving tests at 17,
would we expect more women in automotive engineering?  On the other
hand careers advisors are likely to be as clueless about what computer
science actually IS as the rest of the UK population, so... I guess
that might feed through.  I suspect that a very large number of
bright-eyed 18 year olds starting computer science courses have NO
IDEA what they've signed up for.

It's about the US rather than the UK, but I really strongly recommend
"Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing" by Margolis and Fisher
for a great analysis of why women leave Comp Sci courses, and what
helps them stay.  What I found most striking was that women who are
doing very very well in the course are just as likely to leave as
women who aren't doing so well.  Carnegie Mellon University apparently
managed to increase their proportion of female Comp Sci undergrads to
42% (from 7%!) after this.

Though this is an interesting addition to it too:
http://www.cra.org/CRN/articles/may05/blum.frieze.html

cheers
Anna
p.s. I guess I'm one of those IT industry women who don't go to LUGs.
(I did try once, unfortunately nobody else turned up so...).



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