Sunday, July 31, 2011

Women in Computer Science

Computer science has always been a male-dominated field, right?


In 1987, 42% of the software developers in America were women. And 34% of the systems analysts in America were women. Women had started to flock to computer science in the mid-1960s, during the early days of computing, when men were already dominating other technical professions but had yet to dominate the world of computing. For about two decades, the percentages of women who earned Computer Science degrees rose steadily, peaking at 37% in 1984.

Fascinating stuff from Anna Lewis at the Fog Creek blog. [Link via Sociological Images.


  1. Vikram said...

    There is one more bit of data that needs to be considered perhaps, the tremendous decline in Computer Science (and EE) undergraduate enrollments in US universities. At the University of Texas, the number of CS degrees awarded fell from 232 (207 M, 25 F) in 2005 to 145 (130 M, 15 F) in 2010. I saw similar trends in the data for UC Berkeley and Michigan.

    Its possible that US wide, the decline has been steeper for men as compared to women, leading to a slightly higher percentage of women degree receivers, even though the Texas data doesnt seem to indicate this.

    Its strange that this decline has happened despite ads by the CS department about the substantial labor shortages faced by the American tech sector. It probably has had an impact on incoming graduate students as well, as there are fewer classes and correspondingly fewer TA's.