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Gender Gap in Computer Science Growing

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the supplies-are-limited dept.

Education 1027

EReidJ writes "Looks like finding a compatible girl geek in the computer profession is becoming even harder, as an already wide gender gap among Computer Science majors is becoming larger. From the article: 'A Globe review shows that the proportion of women among bachelor's degree recipients in computer science peaked at 37 percent in 1985 and then went on the decline. Women have comprised about 28 percent of computer science bachelor's degree recipients in the last few years, and in the elite confines of research universities, only 17 percent of graduates are women [...] The argument of many computer scientists is that women who study science or technology, because they are defying social expectations, are in an uncomfortable position to begin with. So they are more likely to be dissuaded from pursuing computer science if they are exposed to an unpleasant environment, bad teaching, and negative stereotypes like the image of the male hacker.'"

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Good! (4, Funny)

JPamplin (804322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292190)

Who needs yucky girls anyway. Cooties! ;-)

Re:Good! (2, Funny)

diersing (679767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292212)

Lets face chicks just aren't willing to go to the extremes of getting degreed to find new and innovative ways to download pr0n, they're just wired differently.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292487)

we need ugly girls. they are on http://www.webgirlz.net/ [webgirlz.net]

Dupe! (0, Offtopic)

MondoMor (262881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292192)

Okay, it's not.

Go read Digg.

Unplesant environment (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292200)

Like how many male computer geeks lack the social skills to interract with the opposite sex and mistake friendly interraction by female coworkers as "interest" in something more.

As a geek girl... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292248)

Like how many male computer geeks lack the social skills to interract with the opposite sex and mistake friendly interraction by female coworkers as "interest" in something more.

As a geek girl myself, I'd put it a bit above half. sucks.

Re:As a geek girl... (5, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292319)

As a geek girl myself, I'd put it a bit above half. sucks.

As a geek guy, I'd put it a bit above 95%. You only hear from the ones brave enough to come forward.

Speaking of which, what are you doing Friday night?

Re:As a geek girl... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292443)

Speaking of which, what are you doing Friday night?

Going to recompile the Linux kernel and fix the m0n0wall issues. Just like any other Friday night. You?

Re:As a geek girl... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292482)

will you marry me?

Re:As a geek girl... (2, Interesting)

GreaterThanZero (537712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292376)

I hear ya. It's better sometimes, it's worse others, it depends on the particular environment.

I was on my university's Computing Science IRC channel at the insistence of one of the CS majors. Another chatter asked me to introduce myself, so I said I was just a typical (insert university here) CS student. Then the insistent friend pointed out that I was among the 10% or so in CS courses who lack a Y chromosome. Then the conversation went something like this between he and I

Me: jesus him. stop outing me.
Him: haha well you're not exactly 'in the closet'.
*buncha closet jokes*
Me: i find that in most online areas is it preferable to go as long as possible without revealing i'm female. it's ridiculous.
Him: "Do you have breasts?" "yes" "with a matching vagina?" "yes" "YOU ARE INTERESTING CONVERSATION. I MUST PAINT YOU."

sad thing is, he's dead on about those situations. :)

Though I'll grant, everyone WAS cool with it and he wouldn't have outed me if he thought they'd be assholes.

Re:Unplesant environment (5, Funny)

rocketsled (676050) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292264)

WHAT DO YOU MEAN LACKING SOCIAL SKILLS, my 20 sided die guides me with any social situation.

Re:Unplesant environment (2, Funny)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292298)

http://www.penny-arcade.com/images/2003/20030630l. gif [penny-arcade.com] It's sad that people like that exist in my CS department. We have people search on Facebook for female CS majors and then poke all of them in hopes of a relationship. Rather than, actually, you know, talking to them in class.

Re:Unplesant environment (2, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292348)

Seriously!

For fucks sake, I am so tired of this pandering if certain things are not entirelly, totally equal. Wait - only 48% of people in profession X are female? Well there must be some gender bias! Quick, admit more women into universities into these studies! Quick, discourage males from being allowed to propigate such a gender biased view of things!

Maybe less women WANT to go into CS! Listen, there is, and will always BE, fundamental differences between the sexes, between the way the mind works, between general interests. Yes, there is overlap, but the majority of young boys don't want to play with Barbies in pink dresses. Does that indicate some gender bias? Sure... is it wrong, bad, or need to be corrected? NO! It's nature, just let it be already.

Re:Unplesant environment (4, Insightful)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292393)

I don't think it's a 48% difference here. I think such extreme differences can't be explained by an X or Y chromosome - it's symptomatic of an overall negative CS attitude towards women as a whole that needs to be fixed anyway. There's nothing fundamentally male about CS - it's just we discourage women from doing it, thereby robbing ourselves of potentially valuable talent.

Re:Unplesant environment (4, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292507)

I fail to see how we (humans) actively discourage women from entering the CS workforce. It's true that some IT professions have gotten a reputation as existing as a couple of overly obese 35 year old virgins in a server room without windows, but I'd like to see an example of someone (overtly or not) saying "women should not do IT" or "you as a woman do not want to enter into the IT world." Obviously it doesn't have to be that forward, but actively discouraging women, and women being discouraged by an untrue or outdated stereotype are two different things. A positive eduactional campaign may be in order, but anything more than that - actively recruiting women just to close the gender gap that may or may not be simply the nature of things is unnecessary and unfair to those men that actually WANT to do CS, in my opinion.

Re:Unplesant environment (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292452)

Women are too smart to want to go into IT.

Re:Unplesant environment (4, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292402)

Like how many male computer geeks lack the social skills to interract with the opposite sex and mistake friendly interraction by female coworkers as "interest" in something more.

As far as I can recall, they never offered "Etiquette for Geeks" as a part of the Comp Sci curriculum when I went college, but then again that was back in the age of the dinosaurs (the DEC-10).

Social skills isn't that big a factor. I find very few of my programming peers who fit the "geek programmer" stereotype. Plenty of us are married, have houses and families. Mind you my wife is not a tech-head and we don't discuss my work in-depth, but she could probably understand it. Geeks aren't going to find women on the Comp Sci track anyway; they'll do a better job impressing the bubble-head peroxide blondes who talk into their mouses.

Summary (3, Insightful)

gunpowda (825571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292205)

Looks like finding a compatible girl geek in the computer profession is becoming even harder...

Does it help that the summary itself contains a male-point-of-view sterotype?

Re:Summary (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292239)

this is /. ...what were you expecting?

Best quote on Comp. Sci. gender gap (4, Funny)

precize (83096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292210)

"During my freshman year in the computer science department, there were more guys named David than there were girls."

Re:Best quote on Comp. Sci. gender gap (4, Funny)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292240)

I think anywhere you go just about, there will be more males named David than females named David. No big surprise there. :)

Re:Best quote on Comp. Sci. gender gap (5, Funny)

CommiePuddin (891854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292289)

I once dated a girl named David. Best seventeen seconds of my life.....

Re:Best quote on Comp. Sci. gender gap (4, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292271)

Yeah, but the blame is entirely on the parents. Gender equality should extend to the naming of their child.

CMU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292371)

Sounds familiar [cmu.edu]

Re:Best quote on Comp. Sci. gender gap (1)

grazzy (56382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292457)

You surely mean d4vid.

Trinary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292219)

Just as the hard-wiring of binary mathematics spun the entire twentieth century about a simple yes-no axis, the invention of the three-state switch promised to revolutionize twenty-fifth century computing. After all, with three states (negative, positive, and null charges) on nanoswitches, computers could now think in terms of yes, no, and maybe, greatly humanizing their internal logic.

This would have brought many, many more female engineers into the field of computer science (hence accelerating the pace at which computers could do useful things besides transmit, compress, and enhance pornography), except that the same abbreviational logic that turned "binary digit" into "bit" turned "trinary digit" into "tit." This nomenclatural error set computing back nearly three hundred years, and two entire generations of promising computer scientists were lost trying to keep abreast of bad puns.

-- The Tayler Corporation. "Plotting to take over the world since 1998"

Re:Trinary (2, Funny)

damiceious (819510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292284)

The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
(Bruce Ediger, bediger@teal.csn.org, in comp.os.linux.misc, on X interfaces.)

You don't need to meet a cs girl (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292221)

Meet a bio girl, have her become a doctor, and spend your days changing diapers and compiling the latest ubuntu release.

Re:You don't need to meet a cs girl (2, Insightful)

RatPh!nk (216977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292290)

Seriously good idea. Everyone wins. Too bad more people can't take it seriously.... Fanning the flames of the rat race to get a job so you can afford to put your kids in daycare is one of the silliest logical exercises I have ever seen people engage in.


Gender gaps elsewhere... (5, Insightful)

zubernerd (518077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292237)

I've noticed whenever I hear about a gender gap study or story, the gender gap is a about a shortage of women in good, clean professions with upward mobility and high pay. I've never hear or seen a story about a shortage of women in garbage collecting or ditch digging, or other lower pay and often "dead end" jobs. I've only seen one female garbage collector ever, out of dozens of male garbage collectors, in the various places I've lived.

P.S. I have nothing against garbage collectors... they just happen to be the most visible "down and dirty not high paying" job I can think of. They do a great service for us, I'm not putting them down. I would like to see more women going into CS as well. I'm just pointing out something I've noticed.

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292282)

Garbage collectors also get paid pretty well, probrably (depending on municipality) comprably to most custom business software developers.

-Rick

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (5, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292413)

Garbage collectors also get paid pretty well

They also have one of the most dangerous [wasteage.com] (your garbage collector is much more likely to be killed on the job than a cop) and important (along with your plumber, your garbage collector is more responsible for increased life expectancy than your doctor) jobs around.

Somewhere around here I have an old Fenton [wikipedia.org] comic strip with dialog like this: "Did you know a garbage collector makes more than I do?!" "Then get a job as a garbage collector." "Are you kidding? You couldn't pay me enough for that kind of work!"

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (2, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292356)

I'm not sure if you are aware or not but here in PA, A "Waste Engineer" - read garbage man - makes a comparable salary as me... a Network Administrator for a mid-sized bank. They even have better benefits. You'd be surprised at the average garbage man pay, I know I was when a buddy of mine went into the business straight out of High School and is a rich bastard while I have student loans and a stressful job.

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (1)

camt (162536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292360)

Actually, the garbage collectors where I used to leave (suburbs of Chicago) make 80K+/year. It may help that it is heavily unionized there. It is a down and dirty job that nobody wants to do, so it pays well.

Your point is valid, though.

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292378)

I've seen plenty of female "garbage collectors." Just go people-watching at the mall and observe the type of men that attractive women are attracted to :)

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292451)

It is a pretty physically demanding job, and while I'm sure many women out there CAN do it, I'm not sure that they'd WANT to do it, and be in shape for it. It's one thing to get up and do some extra push-ups to keep up with the men in the fire department...it's another to go throw trash in a truck. Saving lives and putting out fires is a lot more motivating than waking up at 5am to go lift 1000 30lb+ trash cans over your head.

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (1)

joschm0 (858723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292462)

Actually, the smartest guy I know is the garbage collector on Dilbert.

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (2, Interesting)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292470)

That's an interseting observation and after reading your post I have to agree. I also notice a distinct lack of gender gap articles in things like nursing. You don't see a lot of "out of X nurses graduating this year only 2 were men" articles floating about the news...

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292495)

Also, they rarely ever talk about the lack of men in female dominated jobs. Some of these fields are pretty stable, and growing. Think of nursing, daycare, and many other female dominated professions. Maybe it's just that women aren't interested in computers, just like men aren't interested in taking care of children.

Re:Gender gaps elsewhere... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292508)

I think the central prejudice operating here is two-fold:
a) prejudice based assumption that girls don't like icky (hence, no one expects girls to go into waste management)
b) prejudice based assumption that CS is not icky from a rational person's perspective (have you looked at who works in this field? ick! no wonder girls won't go into the field!)

Money (2, Interesting)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292241)

Is it sexist to mention that as computer science is no longer the gateway to financial riches that it was once seen to be (new motto: "we outsource you") that more people who would not otherwise be drawn into it, well, don't and that this might have something to do with it?

Get Real! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292243)

Do you really expect women to code away all night long to the wee hours of the morning? Get real, they won't.

Those numbers can't be right (4, Informative)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292244)

28%? Come on! Which university did they go to? Some girls college, no doubt. In my graduating class there were two women and a about a hundred men, so that works out to two percent or so.

Re:Those numbers can't be right (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292321)

My Comp Sci Assoc program started with ~40 stundents. I think there were 5 girls. We graduated 2 years later with 7 students, only one of which was a girl. That's about 12.5% enrolment and 14% graduation.

-Rick

Re:Those numbers can't be right (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292323)

Yeah, I went to a large, engineering university. The gender ratio was worse than that for the entire student body, and much, much lower in the hard sciences.

Re:Those numbers can't be right (1)

GreaterThanZero (537712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292477)

Right...so...better tell the article authors. Your one school proves that their numbers gathered from across many schools is incorrect.

My school, estimate about 10%. And I should know, I notice the other brave souls in class who are in it with me. We live in a high-tech-company city, so higher numbers than some other school elsewhere shouldn't be surprising. Hearing 28% doesn't surprise me, there's gotta be girls down near Silicon Valley who see where the action's at. Their interest in CS will be welcomed there, just as it is here.

Re:Those numbers can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292491)

Didn't they teach you at your college that you shouldn't generalize results based on your own particular experiences in situations like these?

And to think that... (3, Interesting)

lampiaio (848018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292247)

The very first geek was a women [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:And to think that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292363)

The very first geek was a women

Was they, though? It seems to me that they couldn't be the first geek, because the description they writed didn't happen until Babbage invented the Analytical Engine.

"Don't worry, there's nothing wrong with your grammar that couldn't be fixed by learning english."

Back in college... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292249)

My first class in Assembler/Cobal (assembly code-fun, COBOL-like getting teeth pulled... throught the cheek). The professor walks in. Doesn't even say his name. Looks around the classroom. Says:

"There aren't any women in here."

Uhhh (4, Insightful)

oman_ (147713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292250)

Think this might have to do with the fact that after the dot com crash computer science was no longer viewed as the way to ensure a profitable career?

I have met VERY FEW women who actually LIKE programming among the women professionals I've met.

Re:Uhhh (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292370)

Think this might have to do with the fact that after the dot com crash
That's what I thought, but the submission says the peak was in 1985. Maybe we just need more Matthew Broderick movies [imdb.com] to entice the females.

Unfortunate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292253)

This is unfortunate, because even my wife is bothered by the lack of women in my workplace (I work in IT for one of the auto makers), and when she came to my office for the first time, she said "Where are all the women? This place is a sausage-fest!"

Stinky-pants (2, Insightful)

visionsofmcskill (556169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292257)

Maybe the thought of an exciting career working closely with balding, over-weight, potato-chip eating, diet dr pibb drinking, socially inept, 12 hour funk from working without moving, and red-stapler asking, porn addicted 90 pound eye-glass wearing (weird foreign accent too?) wimplings isnt exactly the ideal or "cool" environment with mass appeal to the females.

Im sure there's always that 19% whose intrests in computer science balenced with their ability to tele-commute are powerfull enough to overcome any obstacle. Even being harassed into wearing their hair like Leia.

--not that programmers are ALL like the above, but its a pretty tough image to beat, mainly because theres is a substantial segment of programmers who do unfortunately fit the bill.

Re:Stinky-pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292391)

HEY! Quit talking about me! You hurt my feelings.

Would you want to be a female in a CS class? (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292265)

I know in some of my college classes at Penn State the rare female CS student would be in class and the oogling and 6th grade antics were in full force by the oh-so-suave geeks surrounding her. No wonder no chic wants to be in CS.

Women are more sensitive to guys (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292266)

The smell impending doom of the tech job market and flee to other fields.

You can tell, you know. You can tell because they don't have caved in foreheads from beating them on the wall everytime someone takes a techy for granted.

"hey, I know it's 10 minutes before 5 and it's a friday before christmas, but could you do this urgent pile of work while the rest of us bugger off to our last minute shopping and holiday parties? i knew i could count on you. there'll be a little something extra in your pay packet this month (a candy cane)"

No shit, Sherlock! (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292267)

...are in an uncomfortable position to begin with
REALLY??

You mean being oogled by obese sweaty men who all wear spock ears to work and tell jokes in binary put women in an uncomfortable position??

obligatory (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292424)

I put women in uncomfortable positions all the time.

Bah-dum dum, tshhhh!!!

CS-related fields booming (4, Insightful)

datawar (200705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292276)

There's still plenty of girls graduating in fields around computer science: communication majors going into human-computer interaction, science & technology studies majors studying the social impact of computing, etc. Information science and other "not-just-techie" graduate fields around the country are around 50/50 by gender. These girls may not care about programming the "best" distributed computing platform ever, but you can be sure they know more about what one means in society than the majority of techies.

supplies-are-limited dept.??? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292278)

So ScuttleMonkey, women are supplies? Perhaps blatant sexism such as this is one of the reasons for the gender gap.

Re:supplies-are-limited dept.??? (1)

dadragon (177695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292444)

You mean to say that no people are supplies? The word supply is defined as something filling a want or need.

If a company wants IT staff, any potential IT staff members are supplies, regardless of gender.

Re:supplies-are-limited dept.??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292481)

Women are not special. They are the same decaying organic matter as men. It's just that supply of said organic matter comes far more often in male form in CS.

You're free to go worship yourself (if you're a woman) or your Natalie Portman poster (if you're a man) but excuse me while I couldn't care less.

MRS Degree (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292281)

So they are more likely to be dissuaded from pursuing computer science if they are exposed to an unpleasant environment, bad teaching, and negative stereotypes like the image of the male hacker.'

I don't know if the number is statistically significant, but from my own anecdotal experience I know a number of women who went into CS because of the gender difference and because they were more interested in finding a financially stable husband than in learning about computer science. I know several women who became engaged and/or married and then switched degrees or dropped out. I imagine the same is true, in reverse, for certain fields dominated by women. I know at least one guy who joined the cheerleading squad to meet women.

find one, they're worth it (1)

LABob (870126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292291)

Geek girls are _amazing_ in bed. It's like Technical Sex 101 ;)
 
They're good with math too!

Re:find one, they're worth it (1)

szo (7842) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292488)

They're good with math too!

Now that's good to now :)

It's not just schools... (3, Interesting)

vontrotsky (667853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292294)

Open source software is even more heavily male dominated than academia. The Debian women project has some ideas about why this might be and how to fix it. (http://women.alioth.debian.org/faqs/ [debian.org] )

Or Maybe.... (1)

Wicked187 (529065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292300)

The females just have more common sense and realize that CompSci is a dying degree that is better served by more specialized degrees in eiterh CompEng or InfoSys.

And it will continue to grow (1)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292302)

You know, Men and Women are different. Why is that so complicated? In my IT career I worked with about ten different women who had equivalent jobs as I and I have had some contact with probably a hundred others. In that time I have found 1 (one) who I thought *really* understood the finer details of the job. In almost all cases the women would gravitate towards the administrative side of things; paperwork, organizing, etc...

As a electronic technician in the USAF (METNAV) I found the same thing - except it was worse there. They just were not interested in the real nuts and bolts of our job. Again they would gravitate towards the administrative parts of our job.

That is just *my* experience. I'm sure that many of you will site a exceptional woman that you know and project her as the norm.

Or maybe... (3, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292305)

... we could accept that men and women are different in nature, very different and that men perform better on technical skills than women, period. It's called specialization, it goes back to the beginning of life and there's nothing sexist to it. The social pressure justification seems a little far fetched, for the sake of correctness. Women perform much better than men in a wide variety of intellectual activities, I'm not implying any kind of superiority, I am just saying the obvious. P.S. Counter-example are pointless because this is of course a general trend and applies on average.

Re:Or maybe... (2, Insightful)

datawar (200705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292426)

It's both sexist and constraining to what it means to be a "computer scientist". You can't just break CS down to "manly" and "girly" parts because it is huge field with an incredible variety of things you can do. You don't even have to know how to program to be in a CS program (thought it's uncommon) -- you can be a theorist. Or you can be Anyway, there's so much to computer science that's it's just ridiculous to think it's something "masculine" or "feminine".

would be interesting to compare to other measures (4, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292307)

I'm curious to know whether the gap in CS degrees awarded mirrors the gap in mathematics performance at the high school level. Or, for a more direct comparison, the number of passing grades on the Computer Science Advanced Placement Exam per year awarded to men vs. women. Poor teaching and other college-related factors may be a contributing cause, but I think the bulk of the gender gap is manifested way earlier than the university level.

Respect (5, Interesting)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292309)

Well, first let me say that I feel lucky, at my university, there is about a 10% female population in my CSCI classes.

Now, that being said, I have seen most women being viewed as technically inept. I have a friend who is working towards her masters in computer science who complained, quite frequently, that her classmates (entirely male) were not taking her seriously.

Could it be that our own geeky superiority complexes are keeping us from having the joy of female company? Something to think about before you suggest that a girl can't code.

Re:Respect (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292499)

Those girls probably thought they were signing up to be CSI's.

Few things (1, Insightful)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292315)

So they are more likely to be dissuaded from pursuing computer science if they are exposed to an unpleasant environment, bad teaching, and negative stereotypes like the image of the male hacker.

What makes you think that women (and men) entering other disciplines don't face the same environments? How is a woman entering Computer Science any different from a man entering Women's Studies? The irrelevant stereotype of the male hacker, bad teaching, has absolutely no correlation with the lack of women entering computer science because this is true for every single discipline known.

For some real experience, in my fourth year of my CS degree, there is all of two women that are graduating. Yes, two women, out of a hundred guys or so. But I don't attribute that to what this article purports is the cause -- no, I think at some point women make decisions for themselves and realize they aren't interested in computer science. I think this theory of mine is called 'common-sense'.

Negative stereotypes (2, Funny)

Cutterex (787660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292317)

"...negative stereotypes like the image of the male hacker."

It must be the popularization in the mass media of conversations like:

  • The Trinity? Who cracked the IRS d-base?
  • That was a long time ago.
  • Jesus...
  • What?
  • I just thought... you were a guy.
  • Most guys do.

Easy solution... (1)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292318)

#include woman.h
and hope you don't get a compile error

I'd like the opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292333)

To be honest, I've NEVER met a female programmer. Ever. Most girls that I dated before I was married hated computers, and most of them I've met since seem to have the smallest degree of patience for them. I've hired several male programmers for my company, and they are good, but I think there could be some very interesting dynamics with female programmers. You see, with my experience, there is always this sense of masculine competitiveness when it comes to male programmers that gets in the way of productivity and, sometimes, an enjoyable work environment. I'd like to see what it was like to hire a qualified female programmer and throw her in the mix to see if that could balance the equation out a little bit... tone down that competitive attitude a little, and see if people would be more willing to work together without always trying to outcode each other. Of course, there's always the possibility that this would totally backfire, causing a high amount of threat to the male programmers from the female, resulting in the female being completely shunned... but it would definately be interesting though.

Sexist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292337)

This entire line of reasoning ("must find females for job X") is entirely sexist!

I thought someone's sex wasn't supposed to matter. Hmm?

It may be a troll... but comon folks... (-1, Troll)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292340)

There's few positions that if you are hiring a programmer, system admin, network security, CCNE, etc... that the ODDS are that you'll find a MALE with more experience and better qualified than a woman to do the job.

And in the end, as an employer, you want the best person to do the job. Granted there are circumstances in which you can go with somebody less qualified -- especially when you aren't willing to pay market value. And that unfortunately, is where women get into the IT industry.

I'm not going to say women are less competent than men -- in fact I know a handful myself that work harder and are smarter than their male counterparts in IT. However, they are very few and far between. So if you put a job out, and get 300 applicants, the odds are that only 5-10 of them will be women to respond. And from that 5-10, do you think that 290-295 men won't have better credentials and are better suited for the job?

Sorry, but that's just the facts of life. If women want to make it in IT, they have to push their gender to be empowered enough to move into the territory held so strongly by men.

MMmppphhh (3, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292341)

Not to sound like a jerk, but lets throw it down like this.

I'm a fairly successful person (so far), in computer science.

People graduating from my current institution can expect to make about $70k a year with a Masters. A high number of people in engineering here leave to do something other than engineering, when they discover that they will be paid more in other fields (a friend of mine who is becoming a banker will start at $120K/year.

So, while there is a gender gap, one has to ask if telling women to go into computer science will be at all good for their careers. Certainly a certain percentage of all people would like to go into computer science, out of a genuine love for the field. I fall into this group. I hope that all women who fall into this group, do so. I would advocate, however, that we stop trying to push our kids into this field out of a perception that it will somehow make them successful.

Lets break down the facts. Even in the dot-com boom, the jobs that paid the most did not require degrees in computer science. It doesn't take a thick book of credentials to become a web hacker. Go to a web shop, and ask the people working there what their credentials are.

Now, go to any business, and ask their IT people what their credentials are.

There are a lot more of those people, and they only get paid marginally less than programmers. The programmers are in a very very tough job market, so mostly only good ones get jobs programming anywhere (though, there are notable exceptions, of course), and they're overqualified for networking.

As a programmer, without a masters, I made $40k a year. Does it sound like your daughter couldn't make more with a degree in marketing or accounting?

Now that we've got that one solved, you have to ask if pushing kids into the field is a good idea. Only a few of them actually like it, to the rest, even a bachelors is a hellish workload in a field that they dislike. Go ask your marketing student how many all nighters they pull a week. In the atrium here, students write things like "Why don't they let me sleep!!" on the whiteboards... and those are the undergrads, us grads are off in our offices or labs.

So, fine... perhaps we need to make sure that the women who want to be here get here. I am a hearty, strong advocate of THAT, but before you send your daughter off to some brainwashing session that says that she needs to become an engineer, remember that it's a person with an MBA who will be her boss, not someone with a degree in engineering.

So what? (2, Insightful)

cmorriss (471077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292350)

This is ridiculous. Yes, 75% of people in computer science are men. So what? What percentage of teachers are women? What percentage or care takers are women? I don't hear people screaming of a gender gap in those or other professions where men are less inclined to have careers.

Let's face it. Women are different and in general not as interested in the science of computers. Note, that I'm not talking about all women, but simply a greater percentage than men. It's reality. Let it go instead of forcing some women into a field in which they're not comfortable just so we can feel better about some meaningless percentages.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292483)

Actually people are complaining about the lack of male teachers. And it shows. Boy marks and math content in schools has been dropping steadily over the last 20 years. I have two boys in grade two that have been able to multiply for over a year. They still have yet to get any math beyond counting to 20 and adding simple integers. Worse yet a boy across the street who can multiply got a C in math in grade 1. How the heck did that happen?

you guys act like... (1)

1336.5 (901985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292355)

CS is the only freggin field that gets anything done.

How about the entire computing field, like Information Science, Network and Computer Engineering, Graphic Design, Web Design, Web Development, etc etc...

In my opinion CS is 2 or 3 years of coding. But you see the problem with CS is that it inherently does not have an intent or application of its use. That has to be created from the authors mind. You see Information Science you apply theknowledge of scripting, networking, server software etc.. so solve problems, or provide solutions, it has an inherent purpose. Unfortunately CS does not.

Thoughts of a guy on seeing a girl in his CS class (5, Funny)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292368)

public cells woo(Girl g) {

if (g.hotness > -10) {
  while (true) {
    hair.smooth();
    lysol.spray(armpits);
    mouth.stammer();
    mouth.tellJoke(lameBinaryJoke);
    if (g.noticesYou()) {
      return semen;
    }
  }
}
   

Dude. Women don't like being treated as objects. (5, Funny)

MondoMor (262881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292421)

They much prefer a procedural approach.

Women out of the kitchen and into the lab (3, Insightful)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292375)

Caveat: the following comes with a massive grain of salt, as it is speculation and generalization:

I was thinking about the dearth of women in science just the other day. I think, as has already been concluded and probably supported, that the difference stems at least in part from the fact that women from a very early age are treated differently. This treatment includes not just how they are treated in the classroom, it also includes what is expected of them. Boys get mechanical toys, erector sets, legos, and other toys that encourage engineering and scientific tendencies. Girls get dolls and other toys that encourage maternal and domestic tendencies. It could certainly be looked at as a chicken-and-egg argument, but perhaps we could start to remedy this phenomenon by encouraging women to build and experiment at a younger age.

It's also evident that girls and boys emulate the people around them, so a more stimulating, interactive and intellectual environment at home could be a boon for either gender.

Yeah, but... (1)

ratajik (57826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292401)

I've found that a rather large number of people I've worked with as IT people didn't originally get a degree in IT. At least those in the business world. So basing a % on what Major a person gets might not be, for IT at least, very meaningful.

'Course saying that, just looking around I DO notice a lack of girl geeks... so they may be right :)

Bad Cultures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292407)

Nearly every tech company I've worked at has had some level of hostility towards women in about half of the male techies.

Really, as fun as it may be, it's not really a healthy work culture to be discussing the details of most South Park episodes, or any other kinds of conversations along those lines.

We're cooperating with our coworkers far more than competing with them.

Arrogance is a bad personality trait. Really.

Female techies are no different mentally than male techies. Really. Get over it. They can do the job every bit as well as you can, some of them better.

Women who assert themselves aren't necessarily bitches; contrariwise, if you don't want a woman to _have_ to act like a jerk to get heard, listen to them! Most women are socialized to start out polite.

It's appalling how many geeks need to be told this sort of thing.

Cause and effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292420)

Compare the current health of the industry and profession with that from 1985. I can only speak for myself, but I used to be excited about computers. Now I am excited about getting out of computers. It just isn't as fun as it used to be. Am I saying an increasing lack of women is/a cause? Yes. Lack of gender equity is similar to racism. If your programmers don't accurately reflect the demographics of your local populate, you probably have one or more white males who could be replaced by better programmers. An under-representation of women doesn't mean women aren't good programmers. It means a certain percentage of white males shouldn't be there. Perhaps if we had more women programmers we would have better software and less offshoring.

Career Goals (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292428)

The 21-30 age group is looking for more than intellectual challenge when they pick a career. Some goals that go beyond this are: glamor, fashion, job security, good-looking members of the opposite sex, influential go-getters, big Buck$, etc. I think comp sci is probably the last career choice you would make if you were looking for any of these things in your early career. Certainly the outsourcing trend has diminished at least the perception that computer programming is a career choice with a bright future. Sure, the best won't have to worry. Despite the outsourcing of late there is still demand for good people right here in the good ol' USA. For those who cannot rise to that level, the number of good-paying jobs with a stable future and room for growth is being reduced. On many levels this is just more supply and demand.

Negative Stereotype!? (2, Funny)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292440)

Excuse me, but when did the male hacker become a negative stereotype? Someone's confusing Slashdot's nerds for ESR's hackers, at great expense to available females everywhere.

A Bigger Tragedy (5, Insightful)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292448)

Is that there is a decline in men enrolling in Women's Studies degrees.

The point is, often girls like certain thing and boys like certain things. It has nothing to do with a social standard or any other kind of garbage these people make up to get grants. It has to do with the same reason more men are found roaming around best buy looking at electronics than girls.

Why do we constantly have this mission from some groups to force 50-50 on everything? Why is it that we have to take natural patterns out and force things on people. So now what, if a girl wants to study CS they make it free to encourage more girls to do it? Who cares who studies it! Race and sex don't matter!

On these same grounds have you seen any studies advocating to get more boys in school? The numbers are going way down for males while females continues to rise. Why don't we see a coalition focused on getting boys into colleges. Especially white boys who are showing the sharpest decline in enrollment?

Sure I'm going overboard here but my point is this: It's not a *problem* that fewer girls are going into CS. It's a fact. And that's all it is. They make guesses as to why and this is fine but do not try and manipulate things and make them unfair for everyone else to strike some unnatural balance. To me, it's irrelevant if fewer girls are going into engineering and CS programs.

Numbers seem to be transposed (1)

aalobode (758863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292449)

I have heard these statistics before, but they (c. 28% and 17%) apply to women in grad school and in bachelor's programs respectively (not the other way around, as in the original posting).


Someone has to look at why, despite all the incentives for women to enter computing as Bachelor's candidates, so few of them actually do. More importantly, is the recruiting process and its incentives misdirected?


The graduate school proportion is skewed by the many women from "third" world countries -- they have no incentive program, and they have to struggle against far greater odds than their American sisters. So, it may be that American women choose not to enter the profession. If that is true, then it would be a feature of the empowerment of women, although undoubtedly unintentional.

Most women don't play video games either (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292450)

The two must have something in common.

Changing views (1)

SmallOak (869450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292453)


One impression I have is that in the 70's CompSci was viewed more as a 'humanities'. In Canada is was either part of the Commerce or Math faculties. There seemed to be more interested in the theoretical aspect. It was a lot smaller and had more of a community fell.

How is the gender ratio for those graduating or entering Biology and the Sciences?

Remembering Grace Murray Hopper - A Legend in Her Own Time
http://inventors.about.com/od/hstartinventors/a/Gr ace_Hopper.htm [about.com]

Balancing Work and Family (1)

dc_genevieve (787202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292455)

While society has changed drastically in the past few decades, the mother is still the primary caretaker in most families. A large percent of IT jobs require significant amounts of overtime and/or odd hours, neither of which are conducive to raising a family (not that there aren't plenty of women who somehow manage it). Perhaps that has something to do with the gender gap. That being said, I enjoyed working in a predominantly male environment. I did leave because of the overtime; I wanted more free time because I am also a part-time student.

Daughters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14292466)

Another thing to look at is how many girls are encouraged by their parents to go into CS? I have worked in CS for nearly 20 years, and my daughters have seen all of the wonderfull hoops that I jump through to get the job done. I don't encourage my kids to go into CS or even work in IT. When before long you won't even be able to get a job unless you can't speak english.

A female perspective (5, Insightful)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292473)

One thing that I'd like to know is why there seem to be quite strong racial elements to the gender gap as well. I'm in Computer Science at UBC, and there are a lot of girls in my classes... but at least 90% of them are Chinese. It seems that among the Asian students, there's barely any gender gap, but female students of other races (eg. myself -- a white girl of British descent) are much more rare.

The reason I'm asking this is that the Chinese (and the inhabitants of at least a few of the other East Asian countries) seem to have figured out something that us Westerners haven't. The only explanation that I can think of is that the Chinese (at least appear to) obsess less over what gender dominates what field.

I don't know about other girls, but I get kinda irritated when people, be they men or women, exclaim "Good for you!" or "You go girl!" when I mention my major, as if I'm overcoming some incredible hardship by just -- get this -- interacting to guys and *gasp* doing my coursework without female encouragement!

I also get sick of people going on and on about how comp sci is desperately lacking in women and it's masculine and discrimination is rampant and hard for girls to get into and blah blah blah... and then they wonder why the hell girls are being driven away from the subject "despite" all that advertising. I mean, seriously: do you think you could get more men into nursing by saying something like "Nursing: not just for girls anymore! Not girly at all! You won't be laughed at for doing it! Trust us!"? So why does anyone think that strategy would work on women?

Oh, and incidentally, as a 3rd year student, I have never been harassed, excluded or otherwise treated in a negative manner based on my gender. I have never felt that I was intruding into any kind of boys-only club, and I have never found myself wishing that I had more female friends to talk to. Oh, and my grades are pretty decent too (with the notable exception of math, but I've always been weak in that area).

Men and women... (-1, Flamebait)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14292485)

Men and women are just interested in different things. It's not discrimination. It's not a hostile work environment. It's just the way it is. It's the way men and women were created by God or evolution or whatever.

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