Gender gap in computer science studied

Aug 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: Fear of losing money, not spending habits, affects investor risk tolerance, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rich boys more competitive in economic experiments

Jul 04, 2014

Why do we make the choices that we do? Are we born this way or have we become this way? The behavioural economists are looking for answers by the use of economic and math exercises in the laboratory.

Recommended for you

F1000Research brings static research figures to life

18 hours ago

F1000Research today published new research from Bjorn Brembs, professor of neurogenetics at the Institute of Zoology, Universitaet Regensburg, in Germany, with a proof-of-concept figure allowing readers and reviewers to run ...

How science can beat the flawed metric that rules it

19 hours ago

In order to improve something, we need to be able to measure its quality. This is true in public policy, in commercial industries, and also in science. Like other fields, science has a growing need for quantitative ...

User comments : 0