Gender Gap and Computer Science Education

February 12, 2018

 

The Report

According to a new report from Girls Who Code, women in technology will decrease from 24% to 22% by 2025 if the leaders and educational system does not change causing a gender gap. Arkansas, my home state, is at the forefront in trying to make those changes happen, but the sad  thing is that the tech leaders and human resource managers have to better understand what it takes to fill those jobs. They also have to go out and take a chance on hiring the women.

Gender GapThe fact is that most women are excellent in math and science. I’ve known a few in my computer science classes that could out code me or even come up with better processes to accomplish a task than I could.

The problem with the current computer science (CS) education is that it is geared toward the male dominance way of teaching. Boys and girls learn differently. If you teach CS to girls the way it has been taught throughout the years, the outcome may be a widening of the gap instead of closing it. Because the fact of the matter is that there are only a few computer scientists that are strong role models for women or that the history books even talk about in schools. How can women learn from a male dominated field.

According to the article, more effort needs to be made with going to the schools and talking to the students especially the young girls that maybe thinking about coding, and just tell them what it is all about. Schools need to hold code camps where it is open to the public, and get the word out about the benefits that coding has in academic courses.

Computer Science helps put into practice what the students learn in math or algebra classes as they get older. It helps with logic and even with reading and English. You have to learn about art and design. This gender gap has to stop. It is a fact girls excel in Math and science so why do parents never encourage their girls into going into CS while in school.

When it comes to salaries in the workplace for women in technology they have a greater influence and negotiation ability than men do at this time. They just have to be brave and ask for it, and they do not need to be afraid of hearing, “No”. Here are a few tips that TechRepublic wrote up on negotiating a higher salary.

A Brief Look At History of Arkansas and Computer Science Education

Girls in ScienceIn Arkansas things are changing, I remember when I went to school we were only offered an “Introduction to Business Information Systems” in 8th grade. The class was at 7:00am and there was only 7 people in the class. This was in 1990. There was 1 other girl in the class.

The only other exposure to computer science was in 11th or 12th grade you could take computer programming 1 or 2, and this was in 1993 or 1994. I did not get into the class. It was a class size of 5. No women. Now move up to 2015.

Arkansas began seeing the need in its state to improve this. They have done a lot to promote coding and computer science in general to schools, and the public. They have set forth the Arkansas Computer Science Initiative. This initiative is geared to help close the gap and get more young people in place so when the older “Gray Beards” retire then the state will be able to survive and be able to provide technology jobs to the students that graduate from the Universities.