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Education Technology

Tech's Gender and Race Gap Starts In High School 489

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Diversifying the tech industry is a prominent topic these days, with much analysis being done on colleges and companies that employ software engineers. But exam data shows the gap is created much earlier — it's almost overwhelming even before kids get out of high school. From the article: 'Ericson's analysis of the data shows that in 2013, 18 percent of the students who took the exam were women. Eight percent were Hispanic, and four percent were African-American. In contrast, Latinos make up 22 percent of the school-age population in the U.S.; African-Americans make up 14 percent. (I don't need to tell you that women make up about half.) There are some states where not a single member of one of these groups took the test last year. No women in Mississippi or Montana took it. Seven states had no Hispanic students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota. And 10 states had no Black students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Utah. In some of these states, there simply aren't many students of any race or gender taking the test, which helps explain the dearth of young women and minorities. (Indeed, no women or minorities took the exam in Wyoming—but that's because no students at all took it.) But Idaho had nearly 50 students taking it, and Utah had more than 100.'"
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Tech's Gender and Race Gap Starts In High School

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  • here we go again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2014 @09:34AM (#45931533)

    Its 2014, not 1992.. Why must we try so hard to get women to work in tech? I don't believe that there are any negative influences early on dissuading women from working tech. Maybe they just don't want to. Just putting that out there. I'd love to see more women in tech, but don't brainwash someone into it.

  • Re:In other news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @09:43AM (#45931565) Homepage

    Empathy is slightly off, in fact the positions you are talking about often like lower empathy. You are talking about a good ability to read emotions/people, like a sociopath.

    Sales,HR, etc and the like. Interacting with people, but most of the time not looking out for their best interests.

    In my opinion, of what little real evidence there is, it points to men being the empathetic gender.

    1. We know that the number one creator of empathy in children is time with their father.
    2. Women and girls are simply not known to be caring. See high-school girls (what is the first thing that pops into your mind: caring or mean and spiteful).
    3. See every female animal with a cub ever, who are known as the most cold blooded killers out there.

  • by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @10:01AM (#45931613)
    If you drill down to some of her Excel spreadsheets you'll find that the overall number of female CS exam takers was 18.5%. One might explain that by arguing that women just don't like math/science/etc. But you'll also find that 48% of Calculus AB exam takers were women. Possible explanation: you need calculus if you're planning to do pre-Med as an undergraduate and lots of women wants to be doctors. Apparently very few women want to be software devs and/or engineers. But it's not because they're unwilling to take a math class, as we can see from the rate of females taking the Calculus exam.
  • by jackspenn (682188) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @10:11AM (#45931659)
    Why are we fixated on trying to artificially diversify professions?

    The PC BS has to stop at some point. There are some professions and things that men prefer more than women and others that women prefer more than men.

    I will give you one example of this insanity:

    In the mid-nighties a friend of my parents came over all upset. She was a manager for a publisher and all except one of her editors were female. She explained that men did not have a strong desire to edit textbooks. The only male she could find that was both good and interested cost her over double the rate of any other female editor. The reason was that she had to hire him away from another employer so that she could meet a diversity requirement from some of the states who purchased her textbooks.

    Well, this male editor ended up getting an even higher offer from a different publisher. As she sat at my parents table saying "Men just do not enjoy or wish to be editors as much as women do. How am I ever going to find enough men who are both good and interested in doing this job?"

    It was at this point that my dad who worked in IT at the time walked in and heard this statement. He said "I have the same diversity issue at work, they would like to have more women in IT, but most women don't want to be in IT."

    At this point my mom suggested the simple solution, she explained how my dad was paying good women more money than men to work in IT when he could find them and sometimes not as good women when he had nothing else. So my parents friend ended up hiring three not so good male editors and just had whatever they edited initially sent back through to other editors.

    Was that fair? Was it right? No, it was what the government wanted.

    People walk around saying "Diversity is our goal" or "Diversity unites us". Yeah, that last one goes up at a state office building each April, I go to their lobby just to laugh at their mini-ministry of truth.

    The truth is so much simpler. Hire people who are interested in learning/growing in the areas related to their work. Don't worry about how the numbers turn out. The only reason companies worry about diversity is because of some BS forms some bureaucrats asks them to fill out. Don't let your world be shaped by this nonsense. If asked be honest, explain you do not discriminate, you only hire the best qualified.

    (I agree, I do need an editor)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2014 @10:12AM (#45931663)

    I got asked by the teacher why did I want to go for computer science instead of humanities. I told that I like computer science better. His answer: "you know, some guys going for computer science are very good. It would be easier for you in humanities." It was NOT after failed test or anything like that. It was in the beginning of school year and he knew nothing about me.

    How many boys got asked stupid questions like that? Girls can pick up that they are not supposed to be interested in these things soon enough. We are supposed to be clueless and kids are good in picking up such clues.

  • Enough already (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @10:15AM (#45931673) Homepage

    Men have personalities. Women have personalities. They quite often very different. They lead people into different directions in life.

    Why aren't we asking why there aren't more "jocks" in science and why there aren't more "nerds" in sports? It's the SAME CAUSES.

    And every time the topic comes up, it invariably results in recommendations of making an environment more comfortable for the other party. And this push ALWAYS goes one direction without fail. So here it is.

    WHITE MEN: You must change everything about yourself. You are to blame for everyone else not being like you. Women don't want to work with you in your job and it's always YOUR FAULT. Black people never feel welcome or equal in your work place either and guess whose fault that is? That's right. It's your fault.

    Has no one ever wondered or asked why we're only pushing to have more diversity in a white man's environment? Why it's considered wrong for there to even be a white man's environment? Why is there no push for diversity in churches? Why is there a Korean Christian church around the corner? Why aren't there more Christians and Jews in mosques? There is a long, long list of things women do which men have no interest and yet no one is pushing for more diversity in those areas.

    Diversity is code for anti-white-male. Show me I'm wrong by pointing to an instance calling for diversity that isn't targetting while males?

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @11:03AM (#45931871) Journal
    Because we want to get the best people. If you look worldwide, the gender balance (to pick the one imbalance your post mentions) is a lot closer to 50:50 in some countries, in others it's even more skewed. This implies that there's nothing intrinsic about women that makes them genetically less likely to want to do engineering or scientific things, there's some other cultural or social pressure stopping most of them. If we're only recruiting from 10% of the female population that, absent these pressures, would have gone into these subjects, then we can hope that it's the best 10%, but that's not very likely.
  • by elrous0 (869638) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @11:18AM (#45931963)

    I wonder if there are articles on fashion industry sites lamenting the lack of heterosexual males in the fashion industry.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Sunday January 12, 2014 @11:53AM (#45932097) Journal

    got asked by the teacher why did I want to go for computer science instead of humanities. I told that I like computer science better. His answer: "you know, some guys going for computer science are very good. It would be easier for you in humanities." It was NOT after failed test or anything like that. It was in the beginning of school year and he knew nothing about me.

    And if a daughter of mine came home from school with a story like that, I'd have been all over it, asking why teachers are discouraging somebody from taking a class about something that the student indicated a preference for. What difference should it make how good other may be compared to how hard the course might be for somebody else? Some of the people in humanities could also be very good too... should they also be discouraged from taking that class as well simply on that premise? Sure, it's definitely possible that it might not interest you as much as you had hoped in the beginning, but you'd learn that over the year as you took the class. What kind of basis would a teacher use for deciding that a student was liable to change their mind about how much interest they had in a subject when they plainly said that they liked it?

    I'd be expecting an apology from that teacher to be delivered to my daughter the following day, or else I'd be wanting to see that teacher fired.

    Wow.... just wow. How *DARE* that teacher suggest that you wouldn't be any good or have any significant interest in computer science just because you happen to have ovaries.

  • by Bengie (1121981) on Sunday January 12, 2014 @01:16PM (#45932533)
    Females show an adverse reaction to "tech" as early as 1 day old. Are you saying newborns have had time to be influenced? Show a newborn female a doll, and they are interested because it has a face. Show them toy car and they couldn't care less. Show a newborn boy a doll, and it's less interested, show it a car and it wants to grab and hold it.

    Actually, this is linked with testosterone levels during development. Females that had a mother with higher testosterone levels exhibited similar rates of wanting the car over the doll, and visa versa for boys. Guess which gender on average has higher testosterone levels?

    Other surveys, that have gone over many many years and over the top 40 countries, have found that interest levels in tech for women is nearly identical in every country, unaffected by culture. The rate of women actually in tech drastically varies, but many of those women don't enjoy it, they're only in it because they were pushed into it.

    Isn't this the polar opposite of our current issue? We argue that maybe more women would be in tech if we encouraged them. It turns out to be the opposite. They don't want to be in it, but if they are, it's because they were forced into it. The optimal percentage of women in tech should be about the same as the percentage that are interested in it.

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