Research: Computer science to continue to see gender gap

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If the attitudes of high school students are a good predictor of eventual career choices, the future will continue to see computer science fields dominated by males. According to new research released by ACM and the WGBH Educational Foundation, compared with girls, more than twice as many boys see computer science as a 'good' or 'very good' choice as a college major. What's more, four times as many boys cited computer science as a 'very good' career choice. The report (PDF) is part of a larger, multi-stage effort called New Image for Computing that looks to answer the question of why interest in computer science is waning in the United States and to promote computer science as a career choice. For the first phase of the effort, researchers surveyed 1,406 college-bound teens in December to determine the attitudes of high school students.

What it found was that 52 % of all student viewed computing, computer science, and information technology as good or very good potential choices for college majors. By this measure, the computing category is in the top 3, virtually neck and neck with business/management/marketing (55 % positive) and art/music/design (53 % positive). However, by gender, 74 % of boys cited computing/computer science/information technology as a good or very good choice, compared with only 32 % of girls. Broken down by ethnicity and gender, as seen in the following chart, white females had the lowest positive response to computer science as a major. Hispanic males had the highest.

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