In 2016, only 18% of the nation’s computer science majors were women, a statistic that we at the Anita Borg Institute hope to improve. One way we aim to support female computer science students is through BRAID (Building, Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity), an initiative co-led by the Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College that helps computer science departments increase their percentages of women and underrepresented minority students.
Dr. Linda Sax leads the BRAID research team for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her team collects data to determine which main factors discourage women and underrepresented minorities from pursuing careers in STEM, and which strategies will best encourage them to stay in the field.
“If girls aren’t involved in building technological products,” Linda said, “not only are they missing out on some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs, [but] we’re also missing out on the brainpower that these women can bring to the table.
“I’m confident that with this study,” Linda added, “we can find out what works and for whom, and more importantly, see some change over time in diversifying computer science.”