Gender Differences in Factors Influencing Pursuit of Computer Science and Related Fields
Proceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Innovation and
Technology in Computer Science Education, ACM (2015) (to appear)
Jennifer Wang, Hai Hong, Jason Ravitz,
Increasing women’s participation in computer science is a critical workforce and
equity concern. The technology industry has committed to reversing negative trends
for women in computer science as well as engineering and information technology
“computing” fields. Building on previously published research, this paper
identifies factors that influence young women’s decisions to pursue computer
science-related degrees and the ways in which these factors differ for young men.
It is based on a survey of 1,739 high school students and recent college graduates.
Results identified encouragement and exposure as the leading factors influencing
this critical choice for women, while the influence of these factors is different
for men. In particular, the influence of family is found to play a critical role in
encouragement and exposure, and outreach efforts should focus on ways to engage