|Ventura, CA||Houston, TX|
|June 26, 1999||July 13, 1999|
|Pre-Test Assessing Where We Are|
Directions: Select your best answer below. To change your answers, you will need to hit "Re-load". Data supplied by College Board from the 1997 AP Exam. (In general, the highest level of science and mathematics taught on a high school campus.)
|10-year Differences How Far Have We Come?|
|Technology The New "Boy's Club"|
The American Association of American Women Educational Foundation's recent study, Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children documents a diminshing gender gap in achievement in mathematics and science, with one exception -- technology. The AAUW study also concludes:
- Girls are significantly more likely than boys to enroll in clerical and data-entry classes, the 1990s version of typing.
- Boys are more likely to enroll in advanced computer science and graphics courses.
- School software programs often reinforce gender bias and stereotypical gender roles.
- Girls consistently rate themselves significantly lower than boys on computer ability, and boys exhibit higher self-confidence and a more positive attitude about computers than do girls.
- Girls use computers less often outside of school. Boys enter the classroom with more prior experience with computers and other technology than girls.
|Understanding the Issue|
There are two separate issues to consider:
It is clear that computer literacy is necessary to promote an interest in computer science, but it is not enough. It also seems clear that we may be doing a better job of getting girls interested in computers but not in computer science. Read two essays on the subject.
- general computer literacy and
- participation in computer science.
|University Perspective View from the Top|
Degrees awarded in computer science decreased among both men and women from 1985 to 1995, and women went from earning 36% of those degrees in 1985 to only 28% in 1995. A full report on these statistics was published by the National Science Foundation.
MIT commissioned an interesting study to determine why the percentage of their students choosing electrical engineering or computer science (EECS) (19% women) is lower than MIT engineering as a whole (29% women). The most telling result of the two student surveys was that women, much more so than men, felt less prepared to major in EECS than their peers. Read the MIT committee's recommendations for reducing the imbalance.
|Staggering Repercussions For 21st Century Women|
We need women in the highest levels of the computing industry. Computer science and computer engineering are the routes to the top, and we must find ways to encourage young women to pursue those routes. This technology gap threatens to disadvantage girls as they confront 21st-century demands and become the newest impediment to women's achieving equity in the workplace. The problem's repercussions are staggering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists
as the top three occupations with the fastest employment growth, 1996-2006.
- computer scientists,
- computer engineers, and
- systems analysts
|What Can We Do?|
Assess where you are.AAUW's Tech Check, a guide to help schools assess the technology opportunities they offer female students, is available from AAUW's HELPLINE, 800/326-AAUW , email@example.com
Intervene with Effective StrategiesThrough GirlTECH, a teacher training program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation headquartered at Rice University, we have developed suggestions on getting girls interested in computers.
Use Web Resources
GirlTECH What We DoIncrease Teachers' Awareness of Underrepresentation
Increase Teachers' Skills with Technology (Especially Web-based)