Jul 23, 2012

Men's Interest Section at Barnes and Noble: Girls Not Allowed?

I was browsing at a Barnes & Noble in Charlotte, N.C. this weekend and was surprised when I looked up to see that I was in the "Men's Interest" section.  Is this the message the bookseller wants to give to half of its potential customers?  

I don't think it was intentional.  It was just one of many subtle- and not-so-subtle - reminders that our society has a long way to go to encourage females, of any age, to consider computing and related technical fields of work and study.

Although women have made inroads in fields such as law and medicine, this is not true for many technical fields.  According to a thoughtful article written by Rane Johnson-Stempson, of Microsoft Research, a study by the Computing Research Association indicated that female students were only 14% of computer science graduates in the U.S. in 2011.  The under-representation of women in computer science and related technical fields in 2012 continues to be a problem, on many levels. 
Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing was published about ten years ago. The book was an outgrowth of the research of Allan Fisher and Jane Margolis, of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and is still worth reading.

Getting more women into computer science
Connie Glasser, Atlanta Business Journal, 5/11/12
"Just when we need every available gifted mind to help business recover from the Great Recession, we can't afford to overlook the contributions that women could make if CS environments were more inclusive."

Addressing the Need for More Women in Computer Science Programs
Rane Johnson-Stempson, Microsoft Research Connections Team, 2/3/12

Breaking the Brogrammer Code: Margo Seltzer's View on Women in Computer Science
Morgen E. Peck, Txchnologist, 6/27/12

Marissa Mayer on Women in Tech: CNET's CES 2012 Panel (January, 2012)
"Right now it is a good time for women to be in tech, but there are not a lot of women in tech..."

Giving Women the Access Code
Katie Hafner, New York Times, 4/2/12

Percent of Bachelors going to Women: Not getting better among Computing Disciplines
Computing Education Blog, 5/11/12

Presentation: Unlocking the Clubhouse:  Developing Software Education and Practices for Diverse Beginners, Jen Myers, 11/19/11

Why are there so few women in Computer Science?
A Syster, Best of Systers Blog, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

National Center for Women and Information Technology

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