Where the Girls Aren't (Redux)


Randall Stross defines the gender gap in computer science well in this NYT article, but he doesn't do much to explain it.

That's understandable. When we wrote last year about the closely-related problem of women leaving IT jobs, we were quick to say there was no simple answer or simple solution.

One of several points raised: "The idea is that women along with racial and ethnic minorities, including blacks and Hispanics, according to a 2005 survey by the Information Technology Association of America have fared worse in IT jobs than white men during the downturn and subsequent recovery because their position in that marketplace was so tenuous in the first place. The limiting factors on women in IT became self-perpetuating and reinforcing mechanisms when the downturn hit. For example, the lack of female mentors and networks, long seen as a disincentive to entering the field to begin with, made it more difficult for women to find new jobs in a tough market."

Also: "Ultimately, workplace diversity is about culture -- both corporate culture and its relationship to the larger cultures in which the company operates. And like all culture stories, this one stresses the importance of leadership from the top."

More thoughts here.