Gender gap in computer science studied

August 16, 2005

Computer science diplomas are overwhelmingly earned by males, but a study of 21 nations suggests the gender gap involves much more than genetics.

"Restrictive government practices that minimize choice and prioritize merit may actually result in more gender-neutral distribution across fields of study," the researchers said.

The scientists analyzed data on degrees awarded during 2001 in such fields as engineering and math-physical sciences. They found, as expected, women predominate in such traditionally female-typed fields as education and health, but lag in stereotypically masculine fields.

In computer science, females are underrepresented in all 21 of the industrialized countries considered.

"The ubiquity of women's underrepresentation attests to the persistence of deep-seated and widely shared beliefs that men and women are naturally different and that they are suited for different occupations," the authors wrote, but said there was little evidence of social evolution since the most economically developed nations do not produce the greatest number of women in computer science.

Co-authored by Maria Charles of the University of California-San Diego and Karen Bradley of Western Washington University, the study was presented during last weekend's 100th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Philadelphia.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less 'geeky'

Related Stories

An ally for the understudied Y chromosome

August 3, 2015

Alexander Godfrey, a PhD student in biology at MIT, is acutely fascinated by the Y chromosome, which confers maleness. This chromosome is often considered a genetic castaway—because its complexity makes it very difficult ...

Patent filings by women have risen fastest in academia

July 8, 2015

The number of women across the globe filing patents with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office over the past 40 years has risen fastest within academia compared to all other sectors of the innovation economy, according to a new ...

Recommended for you

Long-sought chiral anomaly detected in crystalline material

September 3, 2015

A study by Princeton researchers presents evidence for a long-sought phenomenon—first theorized in the 1960s and predicted to be found in crystals in 1983—called the "chiral anomaly" in a metallic compound of sodium and ...

Making nanowires from protein and DNA

September 3, 2015

The ability to custom design biological materials such as protein and DNA opens up technological possibilities that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. For example, synthetic structures made of DNA could one day be ...

Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought

September 3, 2015

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars' worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.