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: The do-nothing dilemma—surveillance vs. surgery for cancer

Related Stories

The do-nothing dilemma—surveillance vs. surgery for cancer

August 2, 2016

Imagine for a moment that you have a tiny but worrisome lung nodule or, say, a growing bulge in a crucial blood vessel. You have no choice but to continue with normal life: going to work, running errands, paying taxes, negotiating ...

Mathematician playing pivotal role in Zika mitigation

August 8, 2016

The images are heartbreaking: thousands of infants born with small, misshapen heads, the result of a rare neurological disorder, called microcephaly, which can cause a myriad of intellectual and developmental disabilities. ...

Recommended for you

Inferring urban travel patterns from cellphone data

August 29, 2016

In making decisions about infrastructure development and resource allocation, city planners rely on models of how people move through their cities, on foot, in cars, and on public transportation. Those models are largely ...

NASA team probes peculiar age-defying star

August 29, 2016

For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young.

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.