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Tan Do

Ms. Ashley Marcum


English 112
5/12/2015
Gender in computer science
Throughout history, there has always been the problem of gender inequity. Even though
in the past there has not been much mentioned of gender gap in computer science because there
was none, in modern times there has been a significant decrease in women in the computer
science field, which became a hot topic. There are two sides in which addresses gender in
computer science. One is the progressive, where they would want more women in the computer
science and disband the stereotype that only men will be good in technology majors. The other
side, either disagrees with the statement of adding more women in computer science or argues
that there are more important issues to address in computer science. While both sides have valid
points and both have similar concepts, there has to be a common ground that will have to be
considered, or a compromise for the problem to be solved and both sides will benefit.
The researchers and academics who argues that there should be more women in computer
science is understandable. While it is not addressed in computer science there are benefits to
letting more women to accept computer science more. Going into Gadallas research about
gender in this field, Are more women studying computer science? It raises doubts about
gender equity in both the education system and the computer industry (Gadalla). This statement
has a valid point, because of modern societys view on computer science and the womens role in
todays society it raises concern if education is equal towards opportunity or both genders. If

computer science is biased towards women, then what keeps the computer industry from bias in
their products? According to Gadalla, More effort should be directed at encouraging more
women to enroll in the still male-dominated fields of science and technology in order to provide
the critical mass necessary for promoting women's social comfort and combat feelings of
isolation in these fields. This statement will also prove one of the many reasons why women
should be in the computer science field. While it is logical that promoting womens social
comfort, such as gender harassment in the work field, it will significantly improve womens
equality, it also promotes a good image for computer science of gender equality for all jobs, not
only just computer science. It is also proven by statistics that there is a low percentage of women
in the computer science field. It can also be shown though college by comparing majors of males
and females. According to Parviainen, her research is about why there is fewer women than men
in the computer science field by using many methods to conduct results and titled it The
Experiences of Women in Computer Science: The Importance of Awareness and
Communication, The National Science Foundation indicated that in 2002 out of all the
undergraduate freshmen intending to major in science and engineering programs, 5.2% of those
students were women majoring in computer science and 27.1% were men. This is one of many
examples where there are many more men who take computer science compared to women. This
is due to many factors according to Parviainen, she conducted an interview that states
environmental factors such as teachers can influence women to not joining computer science
(Parviainen). But if there is an awareness to this problem than In the end, greater awareness and
communication will not only benefit women; they will make the computer science field a more
inclusive environment for all who are involved (Parviainen).

The above points are agreeable, in my opinion there are also points on why the opposite
side has a valid argument. While it is good there should be more women in computer science,
such as equal opportunity significantly help the computer science field by having male and
female perspectives (Parviainen), there are reasons on why it should just be kept as it is now.
Glass also stated, It certainly didnt stem from the very beginnings of the field. This statement
claims that computer science is not to blame for the gender gap because according to history the
very first programmers were indeed women. So, does this mean women decided not to
participate, or simply they cant? Because female enrollment in engineering is traditionally far
lower than in the liberal arts or mathematics (Glass). This is a valid statement backed by
statistics, which also proves a point that females decided to enroll in liberal arts instead of
engineering which can also be translated to computer science. So while it is provided women
simply do not chose the field because they are interested in something else rather than computer
science. As CS seeks to explore and perhaps eventually solve the problem, it needs to
concentrate on its own house, not the broader halls of IT (Glass). While the gender gap does
have problems in the computer science, it is more related to IT as a whole, so the debate of
gender gap should move on to another pressing issue that is more significant.
Both sides have valid points, even though there are disagreements of how it is a benefit,
such as it will provide more of gender equality and promote a better understanding between
gender gap. There are also negatives, such as women might be forced to do something they dont
want to, or it can significantly provide less jobs for both genders because there is even more
competition in getting a computer science job. While there seems to be a divide in the debate,
there should be a compromise or a common ground on this debate. One compromise can be to
keep the computer science field as it should be, but education can change. In this compromise,

education would Give girls more opportunities to build not just consume digital resources
such as blogs, websites, apps, comics, podcasts and videos (Smith). This can help girls to
become more interested in computer science, and for the girls who are not, they are pleased to do
what they would like to do instead of forcing them into it. Another compromise can be to
promote computer science towards women and get them to involve more in the computer science
field, but there should be equal opportunity for males also. For example, if there was a job
opportunity, the female wouldnt have a more chance of getting the job just because she is a
women. By making a compromise on both sides, everyone will both benefit from the choice
made because even though the gender gap will not go away in just a day, the gap will slowly
begin to close if the female choses to go into the field rather than forced to take it as a
requirement for education.

Works Cited
Gadalla, Tahany M. "Are More Women Studying Computer Science?" Resources for Feminist
Research 27.1 (1999): 137-42. ProQuest. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Parviainen, Mia L. "The Experiences of Women in Computer Science: The Importance of
Awareness and Communication." Human Architecture 6.4 (2008): 87-94. ProQuest. Web. 20
Apr. 2015.
Glass, Robert L. "The Gender Gap: Is it a Computing Problem Or Simply a Computer Science
Problem?f." IEEE Software 29.2 (2012): 88,88, 87. ProQuest. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Fessenden, Marissa. "What Happened to All the Women in Computer Science?" Smithsonian.
Smithsonian, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Smith, Frank D. "Decoding the Computer Science Gender Gap." EdTech. EdTech, 15 Aug. 2014.
Web. 20 Apr. 2015.