Asee peer logo

Recruitment And Retention Of Women In The Computing Sciences: Tackling The Underlying Problems

Download Paper |

Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Climate Issues for Women Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

12.1228.1 - 12.1228.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2989

Download Count

29

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Sheryl Duggins Southern Polytechnic State University

visit author page

Sheryl Duggins is a professor of Software Engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Florida, and her M.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of Missouri.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Recruitment and Retention of Women in the Computing Sciences: Tackling the Underlying Problems

Abstract

This paper explores the issues surrounding recruitment and retention of women in computer science and software engineering. It examines why so few women enter computing sciences, why so many women leave computing sciences, and what can be done to improve the situation? This paper explores the social barriers and stereotypes that bias girls and women from entering the computing sciences as well as biases in the educational system that contribute to the problem. This paper will give a current overview of gender related issues in the computing sciences, as well as examine social factors that may affect the deficiency. Specific techniques that have proven effective in changing the recruitment and retention of women in computer science in the last decade will be presented. The latest research in the role that culture plays in gender diversity in computing will also be examined and the idea that cultural influences rather than gender differences account for the differences in female participation in computing related fields will be explored. Finally, it will examine historical data at my university and try to identify what elements may have contributed to the fact that our programs exceed the national average of women students in computing sciences. The findings show that while our graduate programs have more females than the national average, this is probably attributable more to our high numbers of international female graduate students than to our “female friendly” environment.

Introduction

This paper explores the issues surrounding recruitment and retention of women in the computing sciences. It examines why so few women enter computing sciences, why so many women leave computing sciences, and what can be done to improve the situation? This paper explores the social barriers and stereotypes that bias girls and women from entering the computing sciences. Whether or not the stereotypes are accurate is irrelevant: if women believe the stereotype, whether true or false, it may influence their decision of whether to study in a computing related field. There are also biases in the educational system as well as differences in the types of experiences between incoming freshman males and females that contribute to the problem. Because of these difficult social issues, specific techniques are needed to improve the situation. This paper will give a current overview of gender related issues in the computing sciences, as well as examine social factors that may affect the deficiency. Specific techniques that have proven effective in changing the recruitment and retention of women in computer science in the last decade will be discussed and current views on those findings will be explored. This will lead to a discussion of the latest research in the role that culture plays in gender diversity in computing. Finally, historical data at my university will be examined and analyzed to discover what elements may have contributed to the fact that our programs exceed the national average of women students in computing sciences.

Duggins, S. (2007, June), Recruitment And Retention Of Women In The Computing Sciences: Tackling The Underlying Problems Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2989

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015