The Best of Systers Blog How appealing is the Computing & IT Field?
I was sitting in the car with a colleague the day and he said, “I don’t get it. Why are there so few women in computing?” Long story short, apart from suggesting that the field needs to do a bit more than become self reflective, I noted that women self select to “leave the pipeline”. In other words, computing and IT just aren’t appealing. Rather than take their talent in computing and turn it into a field, women get one look at what the field of computing and IT actually looks like, and decide that it isn’t worth the trouble.
In this recent article Simon Sharwood discusses how young women take one look at tech classes and decide not to do tech. This fact was discovered when trying to understand how a new amazing scholarship to help new grads enter the workplace wasn’t being used by women. I can just imagine the faces of the people on the scholarship committee when they looked down and realized all of the applicants were male.
Most people at the top get the big picture. It is a fairly accepted fact that having diverse teams of people, which includes gender parity, results in products that are better. This means that people at the top try to throw money at the diversity problem – like creating scholarships to help women and young graduates become more skilled. However, the message gets diluted when put into practice. What the field of computing ends up with, in most cases, are such low numbers of women in undergraduate classes, that by the time the women get to that stage of the pipeline, most other majors look so much more appealing.