Excerpt from Chapter 1 – “Challenging the Stereotypes”

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 – “Challenging the Stereotypes”:

The more we read and worked with women in CS, the more we began to
question the assumptions and constraints of the prevailing research. Several
questions came to mind, which prompted continued discussions
and observations.

First, by default there are few women in CS, so most of the studies
explaining women’s low participation in the field are conducted in situations
where the numbers of women are low. Do such findings tell us
anything significant about the general attitudes of women towards CS?
Or, what seems more likely, do they tell us something about their attitudes
towards CS when they are few in number? So, could the ratio of
men to women be affecting the attitudes and experiences of students? By
2002 Carnegie Mellon certainly had better than average ratios of women
to men among undergraduates. Could this be making a difference?

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