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Code Red: Where are the Women in Computing?

Editor's Note:
This blog piece from our partners at Change the Equation details their recent report on the continued underrepresentation of women in computing, an issue of deep importance to CSTA as we strive to engage all students in the computer science education and workforce pathways.

At Change the Equation, we're issuing a "code red." As STEM educators, students, and enthusiasts across the country begin celebrating Computer Science Education Week, we've taken a step back to examine new data on the problem with our newest Vital Signs brief, Half Empty: As Men Surge Back Into Computing, Women are Left Behind, and the outlook is alarming:


As these figures indicate, the number of women in computing has not only dropped to a mere quarter of the workforce, but its further decline could lead to a disastrous shortage of computer science talent that will fail to keep up with rising global demand.

  • women made up only 25% of the computing workforce in 2011
  • there are 1.7 open computing jobs for everyone unemployed computer science professionals
  • by 2020 it is projected that there will be 1.4 million computing job openings

    The situation with education is just as dire:

  • in 1983, women earned 36% of all computing degree, but by 2012 that fell to just 18%
  • 23% of girls say they have no interest in computer science
  • 0.4% of female college freshmen list STEM as their intended college major

    Worse yet, one of the main contributing factors to this growing issue is a troublesome societal message that women and girls are getting: computing is not for you.

    Luckily, intrepid organizations like Techbridge, Girlstart, she++, and Black Girls Code are working to stem the tide and empower female students to pursue their interests in computing. Their efforts, coupled with vital, 21st-century enhancements to graduation requirements and standards, can breathe new life into the future of women and girls in computer science.

    Claus von Zastrow
    COO/Director of Research
    Change the Equation

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