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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'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.'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.

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  • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Monday June 09 2014, @11:10PM

    by urza9814 (3954) on Monday June 09 2014, @11:10PM (#53452) Journal

    Did you miss the point where he's not comparing different careers, but a single career over only thirty years? If losing 50% of the demographic was merely them exercising choice, why are they exercising that choice now when they apparently didn't in the 80s?

    There are only two possible explanations I can think of:
    One is that the techology changed and women don't like it anymore. Perhaps now that we program systems instead of individual machines, that's the reason. But women are supposedly better at multi-tasking, so you'd think that would make them better at parallel or system programming. Maybe not; perhaps that makes it harder to just focus on your own part of the spec.

    The second possibility is that when we realized how important programmers were becoming, it stopped being thought of as essentially a form of secretarial work and existing prejudices took over. Perhaps the growing demand for a college education? My grandfather never allowed my mother to attend college because to him that wasn't something women were supposed to do. That would have only been about 40 years ago.

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