What's Driving Women Out of Computer Science?


As it turns out, the number of male computer scientists far outnumber their female counterparts, putting a wrench into the plans of anyone who signed up for a Computer Science class in order to meet women - go figure! But as unsurprising as that truth may be, Ellen Spertus, a M.I.T. graduate student, was determined to find out why she sats in the minority. Spertus published her results in a 124-page page titled "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?," which was written back in 1991.

Since that time, the number of women entering the Computer Science field has decreased, despite "women having achieved broad parity with men in almost every other technical pursuit," according to The New York Times. Not only is the number declining, but The New York Times points out that many computer science departments report that less than 10 percent of the undergraduates are women. Contrast that to 25 years ago when the number was much higher, such as the 40 percent female representation at the University of Wisconsin. According to Jonathan Kane, a professor of mathematics and computer science at that same University, women were more prevalent in the computer science field over two decades ago because the male subculture of action gaming didn't yet exist.

Another theory floating around professional circles is that females are less interested in being perceived as a "nerd" or "geek," but no one knows for sure why there as been such a dramatic decline.

Have a theory of your own? Hit the jump and enlighten us.

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