CS Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold

April 17th, 2007

Today’s NYT has a story, CS Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold, on the decline in the number of women studying computer science and what some universities are doing to reverse the trend.

Women received about 38 percent of the computer science bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States in 1985, the peak year, but in 2003, the figure was only about 28 percent, according to the National Science Foundation.
    At universities that also offer graduate degrees in computer science, only 17 percent of the field’s bachelor’s degrees in the 2003-4 academic year went to women, according to the Taulbee Survey, conducted annually by an organization for computer science research.
    Since then, many in the field say, the situation has worsened. They say computing is the only realm of science or technology in which women are consistently giving ground. They also worry that the number of women is dropping in graduate programs and in industry.

It’s a trend that we atill don’t completely understand, which means that our efforts to reverse it may or not be on target.