June 17th, 2015 § 0 comments

In the early 80s, some 35% of Computer Science students in the US were women. Today, that figure is under 20%.

This graph, from NPR’s Planet Money, shows the turning point when women, when gender equality in computer science programmes stopped improving and took a nosedive.

Until the mid-80s, female students had been forming an ever-increasing percentage of CS classes, as in other disciplines. For a while, CS was less male-dominated than medicine or the hard sciences.

Then computers entered the home, and around it grew a male-dominated geek culture, along with an attitude that computers were toys for boys:

In the 1990s, researcher Jane Margolis interviewed hundreds of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University, which had one of the top programs in the country. She found that families were much more likely to buy computers for boys than for girls — even when their girls were really interested in computers.

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