Moving emphasis away from programming proficiency was a key to the success of programs Dr. Blum and her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon instituted to draw more women into computer science. At one time, she said, admission to the program depended on high overall achievement and programming experience. The criteria now, she said, are high overall achievement and broad interests, diverse perspectives and whether applicants seem to have potential to be future leaders.
“In this more balanced environment, the men and women were more alike than different,” she said. “Some women are hackers and some men are hackers, and some women love applications and some men love applications.”
With the changes at Carnegie Mellon, women now make up almost 40 percent of computer science enrollees, up from 8 percent, Dr. Blum said.
From this NYTimes report on the declining number of women opting to study computer science. It goes on to talk about some initiatives (such as that of Carnegie Mellon) that have had some success in getting more women enrolled in their undergrad CS programs.
Coming back to India, do our elite institutions -- the IITs for example -- even think that gender imbalance in their student bodies is a problem? This imbalance is atrocious considering the fact that women do very well in high school (Class XII) exams; in CBSE, for example, girls actually do better than boys.