Although women comprise a small fraction of tech professionals -- just one in four, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology -- several nonprofits and startups are working to jumpstart women's participation in computer science.
The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field as it exists today faces many obstacles in increasing diversity among the individuals who work within it. In particular, the addition of women to the area has been slow going, as STEM continues to facilitate a male-dominated environment. Several factors contribute to creating this imbalance.
Tech’s gender problem is as bad as ever. Not only does Silicon Valley have a notable lack of women, but many of the women who do have job titles like computer programmer and software architect make far less than the men with those jobs, according to a new analysis by career review site Glassdoor.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who died in 1992 and thus is awarded the medal posthumously, was a major figure in the development of fundamental computing systems. She worked on some of the earliest computers ever made, like the Mark I, programming and performing research alongside the likes of Howard Aiken and John von Neumann. She aided in the construction of UNIVAC and created the first working compiler.
Gender disparities in citation patterns have been documented across science before. But researchers have not previously tried to quantify how much of the differences are the result of gender bias. For instance, men and women may publish different types of papers; women may work in different scientific fields, and may hold less-senior positions.
Computer programming was once viewed as “women’s work.” Many of the people who programmed the first computers were women. As recently as 1983 and 1984, women represented 37 percent of computer science majors in undergraduate degree programs. But the numbers plunged with the introduction of the personal computer, which was marketed as a toy for boys.
It's a problem the industry didn't quite expect: A growing body of research indicates that men and women experience virtual reality quite differently. This isn't about the recent and horrible stories of sexual harassment in VR. It's a more fundamental conundrum: It seems that women process the sensory immersion of VR in different ways than men -- on a biological level.
While it’s not realistic to make all students take computer science, Brodley says the goal is to make it attractive and present it through a variety of options, such as combined majors, “meaningful minors,” and “paired courses.” She explains further: “At the undergraduate level, we’ve developed 26 combined majors with social sciences and humanities, arts, media, and design, in addition to combined majors with science and engineering.”
Much has been written about ways we can inspire young girls to pursue traditionally male dominated careers, and much has been written about the ways we can break down the barriers that have traditionally kept them away. Yet a recent survey by University of Phoenix College of Humanities and Sciences, conducted by Morning Consult, found that only 51 percent of Americans agree that there are still many more men than women working in STEM careers.
New research from global professional services company Accenture and not-for-profit organization Girls Who Code, unveiled at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, held in Houston last week, that despite heightened awareness of the problem, without interventions, strategic planning and targeted tactics, the share of women in the U.S.