Women 's Influence On The Creation Of Computer Science Essay

Women 's Influence On The Creation Of Computer Science Essay

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Women have played a large role in the creation of computer science. The first computer programmer was a woman (Philips 463). The first compiler for a programming language (Grace Murray Hopper) and object oriented programming language were developed by women (The Early History of Smalltalk). Today, the field is very different, with only 18% of undergraduate degrees for computer science awarded to women which has decreased from 37% in 1985 (Why So Few Women Are Studying Computer Science). If this problem is not addressed it will only become worse as the disproportionate number of jobs in the field are taken by men which can discourage female participation and even create a sexist environment.
Understanding why this is occurring is a complex task because there are many different variables to consider, and finding indirect reasoning in people is a not easy. There are quite a few different theories that try explain the cause this decline including the marketing of personal computers, social norms, absence of role models, the way classes are taught, lack of support, stereotypes, media influence, and direct sexism. In addition, a study conducted by MIT found men and women viewed computers very differently. Women are more likely to see computers as a tool while the men in the study were more likely to show interest in the computer as a machine or toy rather than an instrument (Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing). This study also found women were more likely to have a negative attitude towards computers.
When personal computers started to became a household standard in the 1980s, gender gaps in the computer science field began to increase. A study conducted by the National Science Foundation found men “were substantially more lik...


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...e an atmosphere more supportive of women. Adding more team projects helps make the classes more enjoyable.
Underrepresentation in computer science is a problem for everyone in our society, not just women. Each year there are more job openings that require a computer science degree than there are people who graduate with the degree, and increasing the number of women graduating is an excellent way to change that. In addition to this, many studies show a more diverse workforce leads to more innovation and productivity compared to male only teams. Diverse companies also tend to produce products that reflects the average consumer better. Women make up about half of the world population, and when they are prevented from reaching their full potential, we as a society lose. The nations that succeed the most will be the nations that make the most out of all of its citizens.

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