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The key to diversifying the technology field appears to be to start tech education earlier with a push to turn women and minorities on to tech when they’re still teenagers, or even younger, rather than focus on getting them hired at tech startups or encouraging them to major in computer science in college.
“It’s already too late,” the founder of the tech entrepreneur boot camp Y Combinator, Paul Graham, said last month in a controversial interview. “What we should be doing is somehow changing the middle school computer science curriculum or something like that.”
The “start early” strategy is yet to start working at the moment: In high school, students undertaking advanced computer science work remain overpoweringly white and male. Only a small percentage of the high schoolers taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam are women, according to data from the College Board compiled by Georgia Tech’s Barbara Ericson. An even lower percentage of the test-takers are made up of Black and Latino students. In 2013, 18% of the students who took the exam were women, as shown by Ericson’s analysis of the data. 4% were African-American while 8% were Hispanic. In contrast, African-Americans make up 14% of the school-age population in the U.S., while Latinos make up 22%.
A new analysis of test-taking data finds that in Mississippi and Montana, no female, African American, or Hispanic students took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science.
In fact, no African-American students took the exam in a total of 11 states, and no Hispanic students took it in eight states, according to state comparisons of College Board data compiled by Barbara Ericson, the director of computing outreach and a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech.
Most Americans say it doesn’t matter if their co-workers are men or women. But for those with a preference, men say they would rather work with men—and so do women, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
General Motors made history on Tuesday by announcing its first female CEO, Mary Barra. Barra, who ranks 35th on Forbes list of most powerful women, began her GM career in 1980 as an intern and gradually moved her way up the corporate ladder. “This is an exciting time at today’s GM. I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed,” she said.
Read more via Forbes.
I’m very glad to see Google honour one of the great pioneers of computer science, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. Her achievements should be held up as an example to all that gender is not a factor in ability.
For young women, the media barrage of thin and beautiful can be disastrous. But a new study suggest a strong ethic identity helps Latina girls withstand such pressure of needing an model-like appearance although even this group can easily become dissatisfied with their body image.
A new brain connectivity study from Penn Medicine published today in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that’s lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior.
In one of the largest studies looking at the “connectomes” of the sexes, Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues found greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition.
For instance, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group. They have a mentalistic approach, so to speak.
Carol Dweck's research, which focuses on what makes people seek challenging tasks, persist through difficulty and do well over time, has shown that many girls believe their abilities are fixed, that individuals are born with gifts and can’t change.
Dweck’s research, which focuses on what makes people seek challenging tasks, persist through difficulty and do well over time, has shown that many girls believe their abilities are fixed, that individuals are born with gifts and can’t change. Her research finds that when girls think this way, they often give up, rather than persisting through difficulties. They don’t think they possess the ability to improve, and nowhere is the phenomenon stronger than in math.
We know that there is what is called a ‘gender divide’ (or gender gap) in STEM. In short, there are more men than women in STEM careers. More young men pursue STEM fields in college than young women. So why don’t more girls pursue technology careers, become scientists, or become computer scientists?
"Historically, women have been especially avid users. Between December 2009 and December 2012, women were significantly more likely than men to use social networking sites in nine out of ten surveys we conducted. During this period, the proportion of women who used social media sites was 10 percentage points higher than men on average. When we include earlier surveys and our latest reading (spanning May 2008 through May 2013), the average difference falls slightly to 8%. Currently, three-quarters (74%) of online women use social networking sites."
8%: The average gap between the proportion of men and women who use social media
It’s a woman’s (social media) world | Pew Research
In 1990, more than 30 percent of computer workers were women. Now it’s just 27 percent.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
A Pew Internet and American Life survey shows how teens 12 to 17 years old think about privacy when using mobile apps. While some are nonchalant about the kind of personal information some apps collect, more than half avoid some apps due to privacy concerns.
Girls who responded to the survey were more aware than boys of the risks associated with location tracking services in many mobile apps — 59 percent responded that they turn off location services, while only 37 percent of boys reported turning off the service.