Why There Are No Women In Computer Science

18 Jul

Yesterday, I got the following comment on my post about Etsy Women Hacker Grants from one woman who stopped switched from engineering in college:

“I am a woman and switched majors out of engineering because I had constant reminders that I was “the girl” in the program, and didn’t get the support to make it worth staying. The guys who volunteered to study with me or be a lab partner were all in it for a date – it was really hard to be taken seriously. The only girl who remained in my class was one whose study partner was her boyfriend 2 years ahead in the program. A program specifically for women, where we could get the foundations in a nurturing environment before being tossed in with the wolves to fight, would be a much better spend by Etsy or anyone else.”

Unfortunately, the treatment of women in tech does not get much better after college. I know I’ve gone to meetups and other tech events where I would be having a great conversation with a guy until he figured out I wasn’t interested in dating, and would just walk away.  I have friends who’ve had similar experiences. The “brogrammer” culture does not help.

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2 Responses to “Why There Are No Women In Computer Science”

  1. Li Ouyang (@styliii) July 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Similar experience when i go to meetups and other tech events. It shouldn’t be a turn off though. I’ve definitely met a handful of kindred spirits that have been platonic. That’s worth dealing with all the annoying come ons.

  2. Alan July 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I’ve seen this sort of discrimination here at college, though instead of wanting a date the guys are rude and act emasculated. However, that’s in the Math department, not Informatics.

    Keep in mind some guys may want a date because you’re taking a Math/CS/Engineering course where women are rarely found, not because you’re female. In a male dominated field it can be hard to find women who are involved in the field and thus share interests with the men. As a woman taking a Math/CS/Engineering course you may be one of the few women who share interests with the men and can relate to them. So they may be interested in dating because you’re interesting.

    Of course, they also could be after you simply because you’re a female in their class and they can’t muster the courage to ask anyone outside of class out.

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