Excerpt from Chapter 1 – “Not a Universal Problem”

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 – “Not a Universal Problem”:

As Carol’s investigations dug deeper into the literature, she came across
an ACM paper describing what was happening on the small island
nation of Mauritius where women were participating and graduating in
CS in numbers representative of the general population. This paper led
her to other studies of women in CS around the world. In 2002, she
met a professor from Israel who told her about findings from studies in
high schools in the Israeli and Arab-Israeli sectors of Israel. These crosscultural
investigations suggested, as the Mauritius study pointed out
“while the problem is wide-spread, the under representation of women
in CS is not a universal problem. It is a problem confined to specific
countries and cultures” (Adams et al., 2003, p. 59). Thus, factors relating
to different countries and cultures appeared to be playing a role in
women’s participation in this field, factors that were unrelated to deeprooted
gender differences or gendered attitudes to CS but rather relating
to different experiences of CS in different cultures and different
situations.

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