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posted by janrinok on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the food-for-thought dept.

A huge nationwide push is underway, funded by the nonprofit Code.org's corporate and billionaire donors, from Amazon and Google to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to introduce American schoolchildren to coding and to redefine it as a basic skill to be learned alongside the three R's.

Code.org's curriculum has been adopted by 20,000 teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade. But if coding is the new lingua franca, literacy rates for girls are dropping: Last year, girls made up 18.5 percent of A.P. computer science test-takers nationwide, a slight decrease from the year before. In three states, no girls took the test at all. An abysmal 0.4 percent of girls entering college intend to major in computer science [PDF]. And in 2013, women made up 14 percent of all computer science graduates down from 36 percent in 1984. The imbalance persists in the tech industry. Just this week, Google released data showing that women account for just 17 percent of its tech employees.

The problem is not only getting girls to computer class, but keeping them there.

See also girlswhocode.com.

 
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:57PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:57PM (#52742)

    Before the 60s? Do you mean the 50s when there were only a handful of mainframes world?

    Back when mainframes were custom-built monsters with tube logic, they didn't even have operating systems and were programmed by the scientists who used them, mostly men.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:53AM (#52887)

    and were programmed by the scientists who used them, mostly men.

    Those were the analysts. They drew flowcharts.

    The programmers (a fair mixture of men and women) read the flowcharts and wrote programs (in assembly) to implement them.

    Then coders (almost all women) read the programs and translated them symbolic opcodes and their operands / addressing modes into a raw stream of numbers (in hex). Finally, keypunch operators (also almost all women) imprinted those streams of numbers onto paper tape or punch cards (or later on, keyed them into incremental magtape writers).

    The nomeclature of computing jobs has changed a lot in the last half century...