Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Mar 2017 19:57 UTC
General Development

Modern computer science is dominated by men. But it hasn't always been this way.

A lot of computing pioneers - the people who programmed the first digital computers - were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising.

What happened?

An older article from 2014 that - sadly - just refuses to become irrelevant.

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RE[4]: Comment by mramsey
by Wondercool on Tue 28th Mar 2017 12:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mramsey"
Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

@Unclefester

Why was it 50-50 though in the 70's? What caused the decline? Your assertion that women and men have different brains can't be an explanation as before the 90's women *did* participate in IT a lot more than now. Unless you think that womens and/or mens brains have changed only in the last 30 years?

@mramsey


Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were by then celebrities and millionaires, computers had become hip, and seen as a new path to wealth beyond law, medicine, finance, and sales, all male dominated at that point.
- The emergence of Computer Science as a standalone field (and the notion that a CS degree was necessary to program), with (mostly male) professors often coming from EE backgrounds.
- The emergence of the hacker/nerd culture that was, from the beginning, not terribly female friendly.
- The slow decline of the mainframe and minicomputer industries on the US east coast, the rise of workstation and PC industries on the west coast, and the accompanying changes in corporate culture.


Except for the emergence of hacker culture, I don't see why this would lead to a decline in women programmers. Can you elaborate a bit more? Especially , what does Jobs and Gates wealth and status to do with a decline? Wouldn't it be an incentive to join the IT industry for anyone?

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