Computer science has always been a predominantly male-dominated field; however, recent years have seen a great increase in women enrolling in accredited colleges and universities. Computers are now ubiquitous, especially in schools. While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason as to why there are so few female computer majors, studies are emerging that basic introductory computer courses play a huge role in discouraging women from pursuing computer science as a degree. In general, students enrolled in introductory computer courses are more likely to be male, which may account for why computer courses are typically attended by only half the students who initially apply. Check these women in computer science.
Women’s increasing presence in the computing field is not unique to the 1990s. In fact, a study conducted in 1993 by James Drucker and Betty Shabat at the University of Michigan revealed that there had been a 22% increase in the number of females with degrees in computer sciences between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s. However, the percentage increase seemed to slow down after that period. A study conducted in 2021 by the University of Maryland found that there were no significant differences between men and women in terms of educational attainment when it came to computer skills. Even so, there are still significant gender gaps in upper level management and engineering positions in the business world, and these gaps seem to be continuing to grow.
The reasons for these discrepancies in opportunity should be obvious. It seems that society doesn’t value positions held by women much, so it is more difficult for women to be hired for jobs in which they are competing against men. For example, it was much easier for men to be hired as a computer technician or designer than it was for women to be hired as managers of departments or of manufacturing plants. In addition, as the stereotype goes, men are better computer-minded than women, so the tendency is for males to be hired in high-paying, white-collar jobs, while females are hired in lower-level, manual labor jobs. However, things are starting to change.