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Programming The Internet Education Stats

Women's Enrollment In Computer Science Correlates Negatively With Net Access 314 314

New submitter MoriT sends this excerpt from a post examining the correlation between women's enrollment in computer science programs at college and their access to the internet. "There is currently a responsibility-dodging contest between industry and academia over who is to blame for the declining enrollment of women in Computer Science and declining employment of women in software development. I hear people in industry bemoan the 'empty pipeline,' while academics maintain that women aren't entering their programs because of perceptions of the industry. I have compiled some data that may help resolve the question by highlighting a third factor common to both: access to an Internet-based culture of computing. ... I conclude that in the last 10 years among many Northern European nations, rising Internet access is correlated with falling interest in computer science relative to other professions among women. The group of Mediterranean nations that show a positive correlation should be a fruitful area for future research, but seem outliers from the Northern cohort."
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Women's Enrollment In Computer Science Correlates Negatively With Net Access

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:15PM (#40376391)

    We can't confuse correlation with causation. While this might be a third factor, what other factors may be involved?

  • by djnanite (1979686) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:20PM (#40376507) Homepage
    Has anyone bothered to ask women directly why they chose not to do Computer Science?

    You know, rather than just guessing...
  • by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:29PM (#40376671)

    I wonder if maybe Men and Women have different interests?

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:31PM (#40376725)

    >> who is to blame for the declining enrollment of women in Computer Science

    Blame? really? Last time I checked, people have a free choice as to what field they want to work/study in. If women choose not to do CS then its entirely their choice. No one is to blame.

    Why is the ratio of men to women in CS even an issue? Its not intrinsically wrong that it mostly attracts men. Can we end this sexist crap please?

    There are plenty of professions that have a significant majority of women: []
    I don't see any corresponding massive outcry about how to get more men in those fields.

    We just need to offer equal education opportunities to both genders and employ people based on merit not gender. Positive discrimination is still discrimination.

    If there's a shortage of CS grads for employers to hire then its a supply and demand problem not a gender issue. Employers will just have to suck it up and pay developers what they're worth in the free market. Oh noes! the horror! Who knows, that might even lead to more people choosing to do a CS degree. Problem solved.

  • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:38PM (#40376869) Homepage Journal []

    Women and underrepresented people of color are far less likely to take computing coursework or exams in high school and complete degrees in computer science and engineering. This is a fact.

    Yet we also uncovered evidence in this report that suggests women and people of color have extremely different workplace experiences. An increase in negative workplace experiences is significantly negatively related to job satisfaction and positively related to likelihood to leave.

    This tells us that while there are not as many women and people of color in the current pipeline to drastically change the demographics of the sector, there are also practices within the sector that are problematic. First, The lack of focus on diversity means we continue to hire those that are in our networks, went to our schools, and look just like us. Second, negative experiences (which affect women and people of color at higher rates) lead to turnover.

    Thus, while not suggesting that the demographic trends in IT are entirely due to bias, we are also suggesting that they are not entirely due to the pipeline either. The following questions remain unanswered: How many have left IT for another sector? How many found the IT work environment unwelcoming or incompatible and sought employment elsewhere? []

    I thought we were getting better? I thought we'd beaten the dead horse of Why It's Important To Make An Effort To Include Women and were now in the Fixing It stage? I thought we were safe not talking about this anymore? What the actual fuck, you guys.


    I'm sorry I'm being mean, but goddamn it, you guys. I'm sick of hearing this same tired bullshit, as though it occurred to no one to actually look the fuck around and see that this defensive attitude toward ignoring the fucking problem and hoping it goes away is making shit worse.

  • by ifwm (687373) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:47PM (#40377007) Journal

    I'm sorry I'm being mean, but goddamn it, you guys. I'm sick of hearing this same tired bullshit, as though it occurred to no one to actually look the fuck around and see that this defensive attitude toward ignoring the fucking problem and hoping it goes away is making shit worse

    You're not being mean, you're being gullible.

    First, The lack of focus on diversity

    doesn't exist, and should have been your first clue you were swallowing a load. Just look at the extensive and well documented attempts to introduce "diversity". The idea that there is ANY lack of focus on diversity is quite frankly, ridiculous.

    Second you cite "negative experiences" as though it were lynching and sexual harassment, and not "long hours, tedious work, and a lack of social opportunities".

    In short, you bought a line.

  • by Tsingi (870990) <> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:52PM (#40377109)
    As soon as I got hold of something I could program my career was set. I don't see what the fuss is about, women rarely (never as far as I know) catch the bug that men do when they discover that they are natural hackers. It's the way it is, men and women are different. Sue me, it's true.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @05:56PM (#40377189)

    Spoken like the ignorant white middle class male you most likely are

    Yeah, speaking of prejudice...

    Last time you checked?

    Last time I checked, my undergrad EE program received 0 female applicants my year. What do you think we should have done about that? Women were not applying; that was not our fault, so stop blaming us. By the way, women do as well as men when they do bother to apply to engineering programs: []

    those are for the most part low-status, low-paying servant style jobs

    Oh, so I guess we do not really care about gender equality in lower status jobs. What was that you said about the middle class? You know, that stupid, insulting, derogatory reference you made to middle class white men? Sounds like you think the middle class is the only thing worth focusing on, and moreover, only the upper middle class.

    Yet as anyone who has dealt with feminists knows, that's the story with 21st century feminism. Back in the 70s, feminists were trying to ensure that women had equal opportunities in both high-status and low-status jobs -- like sanitation work. Today, feminists have fallen into the same trap as everyone else, belittling and ignoring blue collar work and focusing only on glamorous, "You can be part of the 1% if you try hard enough!" careers.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @06:04PM (#40377333)

    if gender equality is so very important then why aren't ... women encouraged to join professions such as 'coal miner' or 'oil rig workers'

    Long ago, in an earlier age of feminism, that was considered a worth goal. Feminists worked hard to give women opportunities to work in blue collar jobs -- sanitation, factory work, railroads, mining, etc. Then one day, the libertarians convinced everyone that the only jobs that matter are white collar jobs, and the next generation of feminists fell into the trap of believing that. Suddenly, feminists stopped worry about blue collar work, and started focusing on white collar professions, since as everyone knows, white collar work is the only kind of work people should aspire to. Simultaneously, feminists grew to despise lower class women, because those women did not fall into feminists' idealized vision of the successful, professional (i.e. white collar professional) woman who has "equal access" to joining the 1% (equal to men, which is to say, only an illusion of access).

    This century's feminists love the upper middle class, white-collar, middle-management suburban woman. That is all they are worried about. When forced to answer questions about women in blue collar professions, today's feminists base all their answers on the assumption that those women are desperately fighting to get a white collar position (not true).

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @06:46PM (#40377919)
    There are already too many posts asking some variant of "what makes it so bad for women?" or "they have free will, if they're not in the industry it's their own choice." Well i suspect that incidents like this are part of the reason why. [] I really can't imagine why young women starting to consider their career options might see that and consider staying as far away from the internet professionally as they possibly can.(/sarcasm)

    There are also a number of comments about how the women who are in the industry know how to handle the macho bullshit that gets tossed around, implying that it's therefore okay i guess, since some women can put up with it and not all of them are being forced out of the industry. Well of course the women who are still around can handle it, selection bias much? That doesn't mean they should _have_ to handle it though.

    You know, every time there's a story about some company, or even most of an entire industry, doing something assholeish to its employees people pop out of the woodwork to say something about how the free market will correct the issue because all the good employees will find work at companies that treat them properly, and the companies abusing their employees will thus inevitable fail. I wonder how much that group overlaps with the group that think women ought to just suck it up when they're treated poorly.

    It's funny how when a company/industry/environment treats all their employees badly it's the company that's at fault. This libertarian/republican/conservative viewpoint is that it's up to the employees to fix the problem, but at least the company is still clearly designated as the problem in the equation. But suddenly when the company/industry/environment is specifically targeting women for bad treatment, whether that's intentional or not, and the women choose to go elsewhere, it's not the free market responding to the fault of the company, it's the fault of the women for not being willing to put up with the shit they're dealt.
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @06:49PM (#40377959) Homepage

    Pretty much.

    Women don't go into IT/CS fields for the same reason that they don't go into, say, Engineering all that often: they don't fit in. Most women are still looking for a career for its socially-expanding capabilities. First and foremost, that means it's going to pay well, and second of all, it's going to allow them to rub shoulders with people they both want to socialize with and who might do some good for their social/personal life in the long term.

    Just because many (most) women no longer see college as a marriage prep school to culture them and help them find a wealthy husband does not mean that they are not sating the same underlying desires.

    IT/CS fields do not pay well compared to other fields, such as those you can enter with advanced degrees in medicine and law. It is nowhere near as prestigious as either. Their predispositions lead to them picking submissive disciplines, like paralegal and nursing as a result of this (and resulting in the mythical gender wage gap).

    IT/CS fields are unforgiving, unrelenting, and unappreciated in society as a whole. They're hard. Why would anyone in their right mind, and who doesn't have an arcane ability for bullshitting people into thinking they're competent, who doesn't have an underlying love for what they're doing, get into this? They don't.

    Chalk this one up to women, by and large, being much more socially perceptive than men. Particularly men of the geeky persuasion.

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirste ... rg minus painter> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @07:17PM (#40378249) Homepage

    You think CS is bad for sexism - try being a teacher, where you not only have to worry about society judging you, but also potentially lawsuits.

    The number of male elementary school teachers is declining exponentially, and a big reason is simply that men are worried (and rightfully so) that they could be subject to a lawsuit or a sex offense charge for any number of routine workplace occurrences.

    It is a very sad state of affairs. At least women in CS don't have to worry about being placed on a state sex offender registry because of their career choice.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:14PM (#40379479) Homepage Journal
    Unless someone somewhere is trying to get some kind of funding based on a quota...who gives a fuck if there are more men than women in computer science or anything?

    I mean really...what does it matter? There's more men in football this such a bad thing?

    There's fields where there are more women than anyone bellyaching about this? If not...why?

    I keep seeing this harped on....and I don't know why? Unless there is some mass conspiracy to discriminate letting women into comp sci. programs....I don't see what is wrong. Discrimination would be one thing...and I don't see anyone suggesting that. But lack of interest should be perfectly acceptable. Are we also going to start bitching that there are too many Oriental folks getting into comp sci. math or physics and less Caucasians? More men in coal mines than women? X race females more than another race of females and men?

    It is called choice.....what's wrong with that? People are different.

    The sexes are different....geez, accept it and lets go on with just doesn't matter.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:36PM (#40379667)

    There's some other problems: there's a bunch of other fields that men are dominant in, yet we don't see much push to get more women into those fields:
    - construction
    - truck driving
    - plumbing
    - auto mechanics
    - air conditioning service
    - roofing

    Why is there all this effort to push women into computer fields, but not these other fields? Why aren't people pushing little girls to get excited by a career where they unclog toilets and crawl around in shit? Why aren't people pushing girls to get excited about crawling on top of a hot roof in the middle of the summer and fix an A/C unit without falling off and dying?

    The message here seems to be that it's OK for men to dominate really crappy and dangerous jobs that not that many people actually want to do, and only do because they have little choice, but for all the "good" jobs, we need to make sure there's equal numbers of men and women.

    Similarly, there's no push to get equal numbers of men into female dominated jobs:
    - nursing
    - elementary school or kindergarten teachers

    In fact, if any men try to get into that latter profession, they're deemed a pervert and probable child molester.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)