What's Driving Women Out of Computer Science?

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robopm

I dont think that it has anything to do with women being pushed harder for marks. out of my sister and i, my parents always pushed me farther. i still believe that it has alot to do with the number of women in sciences in genral. It could have something to do with the stereotypes applied to the sciences, or perhaps women are more interested in the artistic side of things. Of all of my friends (50% naturally being female) most of the girls seem to be quite in tune with their artistic side(although some are terrible, they still seem atracted to it). Perhaps this study is overlooking many of the more artistic sides of computers in general, like graphics designe, or many other computational artistic persuits (gaming being one of the less female of these genras)

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robopm

I dont think that it has anything to do with women being pushed harder for marks. out of my sister and i, my parents always pushed me farther. i still believe that it has alot to do with the number of women in sciences in genral. It could have something to do with the stereotypes applied to the sciences, or perhaps women are more interested in the artistic side of things. Of all of my friends (50% naturally being female) most of the girls seem to be quite in tune with their artistic side(although some are terrible, they still seem atracted to it). Perhaps this study is overlooking many of the more artistic sides of computers in general, like graphics designe, or many other computational artistic persuits (gaming being one of the less female of these genras)

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AMAMH

Imagine if all universities removed the CS major, and there are no more CS ***formal education*** (yes I emphasize that word strongly) , and there are no more "I'm going to be a computer programmer", and programmers are only those who learn on their own, *the hackers way*, who are really interested in programming.

Do u think there will be more than 5% female programmers? , think about it

well, maybe I'm wrong, I'm not claiming to be so wise.

A.M. Abdelaziz

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markml

Some of the people here are saying nearly contradictory things.

I personally don't think it's the "nerd and geek" stereotypes that are keeping women out of the field. Certainly not that alone. It's the Dilbert stereotypes that are much more dangerous. I mean, you can sell nerds and geeks as cool. Think Steve Woz and Steve Jobs.

If you look at the graph on the NYT page mentioned, you see an interesting trend. Girls followed the guys during the 80's CS boom, but they DIDN'T follow the guys during late 90's dot-com boom. Part of that could have to do with generational differences but I think it also has to do with how the field was characterized during those time periods.

The 80's boom was much more about the marvel of what potential computers and technology had. Sure, there was lots of hype and people were making money, but it wasn't so much, "How can I make a quick buck off this latest technology?" It was explorative and rightfully geeky.

The 90's were when we supposedly "legitimized" the field and tried to kill the geek image, but in reality all we were doing is making the field less friendly, more hostile, more competitive. More money hungry people came along who don't care about the art. In academia, this attitude boiled up, as producing CS majors became a soulless industry. I don't blame ANYONE for wanting to stay miles away from this. I could barely stomach this cold impersonal discipline myself, if i weren't for my love of the technology I grew up with.

The thing is that you'll find plenty of girls who enjoy math and science. But they're usually introverted, and not into aggressive activities. Furthermore they prefer not to just use their brains to show off.

You'll also find the girls who want to become power-players, that are ultra outgoing, and enjoy competing with guys. But the thing is that these girls don't usually like doing math and science. I don't think Hillary Clinton or Martha Stewart would ever consider majoring in CS.

Good luck finding girls who like math and science, and are hungry to dominate and compete. It's hard enough finding guys who meet that criteria. You'll find a couple of nerds like me who will put up with all the crap in this field, because we'd have to compete with alpha males anyway even if we did something else, so we might as well do what we like. And then you'll find some nerds who've tried to convince themselves that there now some kind of macho nerd that people are going to suddenly take seriously. And finally, you'll find the sharks and robots.

So change the culture, and we'll start seeing the trend reverse I predict. If you don't believe it's possible to have a lot of girls in Computer Science, there's this study of a university in Armenia, which found that 80% of the CS students there were female! If they can do 80%, I think we can do a bit better than 0.3%.

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Muerte

Girls tend to be more social than guys.  My thining is that they will tend toward those types of careers that include other people.  Mechanics, programmers and technicians tend to be left on their own.  To us its how to get something to work or do what you want it to do and other people tend to get in the way.

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Wildebeast

At the Engineering College I went to, their were about 2-3x as many men as women --pretty much as you might expect, but better than it would have been 10 years earlier... 

It's not the same as the area of Computer Science, but I mention it, because the major "Environmental Engineer," was more like 50/50.  [Those ladies were the hottest Engineering Majors I ever saw, too.]

My personal theory is that women are just raised or "hard-wired," to care more about what they are doing and do more things that they care about.  It's just harder to care about tracking down a programing bug, or flow-charting.

 I've got a sister who's a programmer for a large insurance company.  She's in no way a robot, or anti-social --neither does she have dozens [or more] of pairs of shoes.

I guess I'm pretty sexist.  I also happen to think it's one of the things we like about women though...A woman with the personality & drive of Donald Trump wouldn't get a second date, except from gold-diggers, or guys with [what I'd call] bizarre fetishes.

How many of us can think of one or more girls from elementary or high school, who were "pretty enough," they felt no need to really try or excell at anything else?

I really like intelligent women, I don't think they need to cater to my needs/wants ---but for a personal relationship, we still want to have that emotional connection.  Women know this very well.

Women are raised in almost cult-like conditions, the from the moment a little girl is handed her first doll.  I can't help thinking you'd need a similar cult-like scenario for more intelligent girls  --separate from boys in school, no Barbie-like cheerleader-types running around-- to reverse the many pressures put on little girls, based on feminine vs. masculine expectations. 

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pcfxer

I have three girls in all of my computer science courses including the maths courses. When I was studying for my Electrical Engineering degree there were only about two female students. Why? It may have something to do with the girls that are good in math actually enjoying other things (WHAT A THEORY!!!). Some of which may include Chemistry, Biology, etc.

 

Perhaps it has to do with spam, viruses, etc. where people are thrown into fear and never "figure out" anything - I saw this often at the computer store in my college. I also think that people should find time to worry about themselves and stop looking at male vs. female for anything. Just do what you're good at and teach your children the same thing, it makes life a lot easier. Certain people do certain things and in the grand scheme we all do our part which is just important as the person next to you. 

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theplustwo

Hey, I've had classes with Dr. Kane. :)

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Belboz99

I'm the only guy I've ever heard of that met his wife in Linux class. :-P

 

As such, I have  a slightly unique point of view...

 1.  Some women, though few, like the "nerd / geek" status.   My wife is not alone in this area, her sister, and a few other women I've met fall into this category.   

 2.  Upbringing can have a lot of influence.    My mother-in-law was in the Computer Programming field in college, worked with all the old-skool languages like FORTRAN and such.   Back then, programming was done on punch cards.    At any rate, she passed on some of that knowledge as they grew up, especially things like how to read binary and hex, and how to love Star Trek. 

 3.  My sisters (all 6 of them) are the complete opposite, and none of them know what to do when the PC doesn't do what they want.   This, despite the fact that most of us grew up from a young age with a PC in the house (1985 on up).   Turns out a  lot of women are just simply afraid of PC's, or at least afraid they'll screw something up, therefore they don't even attempt to try something new with a PC, which is the basics of learning.

 

 Dan O.

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Evilmale

As of now there are 2 girls inn my AP computer science class and none in cisco academy class probobly true that girsl arent into the geek nerd thing

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vistageek

There are 85% boys in my honors math classes. One class had only 2 girls in a class of 30. :-0

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Digital-Storm

Influences. Men are generally not as demanded to get into a executive level position. Women tend to be pushed harder by parents to get higher grades. These higher grades tend to take away from there free time to explore and learn how things work on their own rather than in a class room.

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robopm

I see this in high school. A very small portion of the electro-tech class consists of girls. Im not sure why this is though. Maybe its just general interest. In my higher level classes, there are about a 50/50 spit in the sciences. However, in the I.B program(higher level program) there are about double the number of girls.

I think this is not limited to computer sciences but rather to all sciences. Why its declining in computer sciences spcifically i dont know, but there  seems to be fewer women in sciences in general.

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Queenof1

When I took my programming class, I was one of 2 women in the class. I was the only Black woman and the only female to complete that class. This was at the community college level. At the university level, I think things evened out a bit - more women in all of my computer classes, including Discrete Math.

I'm not that interested in comp sci but I would love to be in Networking or be the "IT Guy". I have no problem being a geek or a nerd, and I think I'm P.H.A.T., if I say so myself.

I bet that the overall percentage of women in a computer-related field is up, though.

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Velcrow

'Another theory floating around professional circles is that females are less interested in being perceived as a "nerd" or "geek,"'

Don't know about ya'll, but I think the perception of computer scientists as nerds or geeks has kinda faded out years ago. I received my degree back in 2004, and at that point already it wasn't prevalent. Hell, we had some hot girls in my classes. Heh. Not a lot, but the point is made. Nobody looked at us any different than other degree's. If anything, people were jealous of our math skills. lol. Time's change I guess.

My theory? The market for computer graphic designers has grown, and being that girls are generally more artistic there has been a shift that direction. I know two girls going this direction. And none doing comp. science.

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