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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: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:06PM

    by VLM (445) on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:06PM (#52923)

    I love to bring up chemistry

    Generic lab techs are darn near 50:50 ratio.

    Then you hop to Chemist and its almost 50:50 although there is a legacy etc such that there are slightly more men. Still darn near 50:50.

    Then you hop to ChemEng and its roughly 10% women.

    Then you hop to management and there are more women but its probably just a hiring quota situation.

    So you wanna do R+D or run an existing plant, women are allowed. On the other hand if you want to design or manage a plant that is a total sausagefest.

    There are obvious analogies with computers. You want to do R+D, I guess that is "math" and that is in fact darn near 50:50. Running an existing plant is analogous with "using facebook" or playing spreadsheet and powerpoint dominance games all day at work, which is also unsurprisingly roughly 50:50. Yet again, if you want to design something new or "manage" a database or server farm or whatever, its again sausagefest time with only 10% or so women.

    The point being there's nothing "special" about IT or computers. Its more a lifestyle thing. Across the professions, women don't get involved in engineering or management. And this is crucial because if you fix that, the specific IT results will take care of themselves, and if you think a pink hello kitty theme in Eclipse will solve the entire cultural wide "problem" across all professions then you're wasting everyone's time because obviously thats not going to fix chemistry or any of a zillion other non-IT/CS fields.

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  • (Score: 2) by skullz on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:04PM

    by skullz (2532) on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:04PM (#52932)

    and if you think a pink hello kitty theme in Eclipse will solve the entire cultural wide "problem" across all professions then you're wasting everyone's time

    You are right but the point is to raise awareness, maybe not with you or with the people who are saying that there is no solution / problem but with the few hundred other people who have read this conversation and not commented. The pink hello kitty theme is part of the "death of 10,000 cuts" that girls and women are talking about. Its easy to do and easy to stop if we are mindful and we care.