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Hacker Girls: Why Aren’t There More Women Coders?

A recent Slashdot.org post, “Modest Proposal For Stopping Hackers: Get Them Girlfriends,” based on an Irish study reported in InformationWeek, had more than 500 comments within days. A few issues struck home with the audience. One, implicit in the headline, is that most hackers are male.
According to Girls Who Code, an organization that connects technology professionals with 13 to 17 year-old girls to provide them with the “skills and resources to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering,” women hold less than 14 percent of computer science degrees awarded in the U.S.
This panel would discuss why there are more male developers than female. Theories abound: education, environment and gender among them. Native gender ability as an explanation has been a controversial one. A 2010 study published in Psychological Bulletin found no real gender gap in math skills, though in some of the 69 countries included in the study, girls had the edge in some countries, boys in others.

Additional Supporting Materials

Questions Answered

  1. Are girls encouraged to pursue technical subjects academically? Are girls socially discouraged from math and engineering?
  2. Should gender equality be legislated in education? Are quotas fair?
  3. Is there a gender bias against hiring women programmers, or is it more an issue of there not being that many women in the industry? All else being truly equal, does gender make a difference in a hire? If yes, why?
  4. For the contrarian point of view: Is this issue specific to tech and engineering?
  5. What is the best way to encourage young girls and women to choose technology and engineering courses of study and careers? What is the best way to support women engineers in the workforce?

Speakers

Organizer

Jennifer Ha Federated Media


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