Getting More Women into Computer Science

Posted on Apr 17, 2007

via Slashdot:

‘ One of the largest barriers to recruiting women to the field is the nerd factor. To attract women students to the CS field, 'Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science.’

I sincerely hope their strategy isn’t to lower the technical proficiency required for the degree in order to simply gain a more balanced gender parity. It seems antithetical to the goals of progress as well as insulting to women. Women who do complete a Computer Science degree should be treated as equals and awarded as such. That’s what equality is about.

I certainly don’t buy the numbers game. Just because there are fewer women in computer studies isn’t a bad thing. Maybe we should be analyzing the societal pressures that are turning away the potential female students who may feel uncomfortable with a small female-student population.

Granted, it’s superficial, but I think a more plausible reason for fewer women with CS degrees is because society is producing fewer geeky women. The younger generation is more concerned with fame and beauty overall compared to previous years when it was probably more concerned with accomplishment and wealth. I haven’t been counting, but I’m positively sure that I know more people who’d rather be famous than wealthy or accomplished.

Don’t you know it’s more important to be cool?