Excerpt from Chapter 1 – “Changing the Field?”

Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University by Carol Frieze, Ph.D. and Jeria Quesenberry, Ph.D.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 – “Changing the Field?”:

Many research papers on women in CS in the United States point to the
same reasons for women’s low participation in the field. In brief, it is
argued that there are strong gender differences in the way girls and boys,
or men and women, relate to the field; gender differences that work in
favor of men and against women. Women, we are told, want to do useful
things with computing, directing their skills to more socially conscious/
socially beneficial ends, while men are quite happy to focus on
programming and “playing” with the machines. Computing is defined
as a masculine field occupied by male geeks. The CS major, we are told,
generally supports this perception thus men find the field very attractive
while women do not. Furthermore, women may even be actively discouraged
from entering the field. To solve this problem and increase
women’s participation in CS it is suggested that we need to pay more
attention to women’s interests and attitudes and change CS accordingly.

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