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June 2, 2009: ACM-WGBH Report Finds Large Gender Gap in Teen Ratings of Computing as a Career

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Today's Topic: ACM-WGBH Report Finds Large Gender Gap in Teen Ratings
of Computing as a Career

June 2, 2009


An interim report from ACM and the WGBH Educational Foundation confirms a significant gender gap among college-bound students in their opinions of computing as a possible college major or career. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the report covers the first phase of the New Image for Computing (NIC) initiative which seeks to answer why interest in studying computer science in U.S. colleges and pursuing computer-related careers is declining.

The research found that 74 percent of boys – regardless of race or ethnicity – reported that a college major in computer science was a “very good” or “good” choice for them, but only 10 percent of girls rated it as “very good” and 22 percent rated it “good.”

The gender gap extended to computer science as a potential career choice as well as a field of study. From a selection of 15 possible careers, computer science came in fourth among the respondents with 46 percent rating it “very good” or “good.” However, while 67 percent of all boys rated computer science highly as a career choice, only nine percent of girls rated it “very good” and 17 percent rated it “good.”

View the full report in .pdf format.

Read the ACM Press Release.