Diversity or Difference? New Research Supports the Case for a Cultural Perspective on Women in Computing

TitleDiversity or Difference? New Research Supports the Case for a Cultural Perspective on Women in Computing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFrieze, C, Quesenberry, J, Kemp, E, Velázquez, A
JournalJournal of Science Education & Technology
Date Published2012
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number10590145
KeywordsCARNEGIE-Mellon , computer , Culture , Diversity , environment , gender , LEARNING , recruitment , Retention , Women , Women-CS
AbstractGender difference approaches to the participation of women in computing have not provided adequate explanations for women's declining interest in computer science (CS) and related technical fields. Indeed, the search for gender differences can work against diversity which we define as a cross-gender spectrum of characteristics, interests, abilities, experiences, beliefs and identities. Our ongoing case studies at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) provide evidence to show that a focus on culture offers the most insightful and effective approach for investigating women's participation in CS. In this paper, we illustrate this approach and show the significance of cultural factors by describing a new case study which examines the attitudes of CS majors at CMU. Our analysis found that most men and women felt comfortable in the school, believed they could be successful in the CS environment at CMU, and thought they fit in socially and academically. In brief, we did not see any evidence of a strong gender divide in student attitudes towards fitting in or feeling like they could be successful; indeed we found that the Women-CS fit remained strong from prior years.
NotesFrieze, Carol 1; Email Address: cfrieze@cs.cmu.edu Quesenberry, Jeria 2; Email Address: jquesenberry@cmu.edu Kemp, Elizabeth 3; Email Address: iphone.kempy@gmail.com Velázquez, Anthony 4; Email Address: anthony.velazquez@gmail.com; Affiliation: 1: School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh 15213 USA 2: Information Systems Program, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh 15213 USA 3: Pittsburgh USA 4: Qualcomm, 5775 Morehouse Drive San Diego 92121 USA; Source Info: Aug2012, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p423; Subject Term: GENDER differences in education; Subject Term: LEARNING -- Social aspects; Subject Term: WOMEN -- Education; Subject Term: COMPUTER science -- Study & teaching; Author-Supplied Keyword: Computer science education; Author-Supplied Keyword: Culture; Author-Supplied Keyword: Diversity; Author-Supplied Keyword: Environment; Author-Supplied Keyword: Gender; Author-Supplied Keyword: Recruitment; Author-Supplied Keyword: Retention; Author-Supplied Keyword: Women; Author-Supplied Keyword: Women-CS fit; Company/Entity: CARNEGIE-Mellon University; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541712 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology); NAICS/Industry Codes: 541710 Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences; Number of Pages: 17p; Illustrations: 9 Charts, 10 Graphs; Document Type: Article