Google Research

Gender Differences in High School Students’ Decisions to Study Computer Science and Related Fields

Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, ACM (2015)

Abstract

Increasing women’s participation in Computer Science (CS) is a critical workforce and equity concern. The technology industry has committed to reversing negative trends for women in CS, engineering, and related fields. Building on previous research, we surveyed 1,739 high school students and recent college graduates to understand factors influencing decisions to pursue CS-related college degrees. Results indicate social encouragement, career perception, academic exposure, and self perception are the leading factors for women, while the influence of these factors is different for men. These factors are actionable, and understanding differences in their influence on men and women will inform our approaches to achieving gender parity in tech.

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