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Where the Ladies At? Fewer Girls Going Into Computer Science

The number of girls interested in computer science peaked in 1982. Yes, 26 years ago, before people even had computers at home. After a sharp decline, it held steady until 2000 and now it’s at an all-time low — back to where it began in the early ‘70s.

Why? That was the funny part of the New York Times article "What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science." Nobody actually knows. But everybody speculates! Here’s what was said:

  • Before the male subculture of gaming, women felt more comfortable pursuing computer science.
  • The girls game movement of the '90s backfired: It made girls think computers were boy toys and girls didn’t play with computers.
  • Women went into web design so it all evens out. Nope. Web design and other “nontraditional” forms of computer science don't count to the people counting. The pay is less and the work is less influential on how computers are used.
  • The perception of being a “geek” or “nerd” that comes with majoring in computer science The theory? Girls don’t want to be that person. I know a geek who would disagree!

The one thing everyone can agree on is that the younger girls are when introduced to computers, the better. Expect to see video games for newborns soon!


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