Top colleges boast about reaching gender parity in intro to computer science courses. But very few of those women go on to graduate with a CS degree. TechRepublic writer Alison DeNisco talked to women from schools like Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Georgia Tech about why this is happening. This download provides the magazine version of the article as a free PDF for registered TechRepublic and ZDNet members. The online version of this story is available here.
From the ebook:
In the classrooms at Georgia Tech, among the laptops and notebooks and lines of code, senior computer science major Marguerite Murrell likes to play a game she's dubbed "Count the Girls."
"If I can keep it under two hands, then I win," Murrell said. "There are certainly some girls, probably more than some other computer science programs in the nation. But it's a lot of guys."
Women earn only 18% of computer science bachelor's degrees in the United States. And leaders such as Apple CEO Tim Cook have stated that if the US tech industry doesn't solve its gender imbalance issues then America will lose its lead in tech.
But in recent years, a number of top colleges have made efforts to draw women into the field with revamped introductory courses that make the technology less intimidating for those that enter college without prior programming experience--largely, women--among other efforts. Many of these schools boast about gender parity in these basic courses and incoming freshman classes. But for upper-level students, men continue to dominate technical courses in robotics, machine learning, and security, and "Count the Girls" still yields poor results in those classes.