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Attracting More Women To Study STEM In A World Full Of Geek Dude Stereotypes

Forbes – Michelle Cheng

“Half of all science and engineering degrees are earned by women. Does this signal gender equality in STEM? Many experts and advocates say it doesn’t. While the critical mass of women in biosciences and social sciences remain high – between 49% and 58% – the proportion of female students who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering (20%) is bleak. It’s an even lower percentage of women in computer science, according to a National Science Foundation report from 2015. Women often turn away from these heavily-male dominated fields because they don’t feel as though they fit or look like they belong, according to a 2015 study from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), pointing specifically to stereotypes, biases, curriculum and environment as factors holding back women’s full participation. It doesn’t help when the portrayal of computer programmer in mainstream culture tends to be unrepresentative of women. Being the face of CS is rare for a woman. If you look up “programmer” on Google GOOGL +0.62% Images, you’ll have to scroll a long time before you see the first image with a woman in it. The highly-acclaimed HBO show Silicon Valley follows a group of nerdy, male programmers in a startup company. Back in real life, only one-quarter of speakers at top tech events are women.”(more)

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