- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (February 28, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262632691
- ISBN-13: 978-0262632690
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (MIT Press)
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When there were no opportunities for women in the sciences, it was assumed they had no aptitude for the work. Even today, our tendency is to explain the gender gap by pointing out cognitive differences between men and women, overlooking the powerful societal pressures that guide young people into--and away from--certain careers. Convinced that "women must know more than how to use technology; they must know how to design and create it," Jane Margolis, a social scientist, and Allan Fisher, a computer scientist and college dean, devised a four-year study (involving some 230 interviews) at Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. They found that the seven percent of female undergraduates at the college started out with as much excitement and talent as their male counterparts, but often wilted early on, perceiving that male students had come to college far better prepared than they had. "The study of computer science education can be seen as a microcosm of how a realm of power can be claimed by one group of people," the authors argue, "relegating others to outsiders." Happily, thanks to their efforts, female enrollment is up at Carnegie Mellon, and more women are remaining in the field. The racial divide in computer science is as pronounced as the gender gap, however, and would benefit from studies like the one described in Unlocking the Clubhouse. Surely the door can be pried open for blacks and Hispanics as well. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Margolis and Fisher document the astonishing gender gap in the field of computing by answering the question of why female interest in technology begins to wane in middle school and all but dies in high school. The authors argue that male dominance in information technology can be traced directly back to cultural, social, and educational patterns established in early childhood. Women, therefore, are vastly underrepresented in one of the most economically significant professions of the twenty-first century. After countless hours of classroom observation and interviews with hundreds of computer science students and teachers, the authors offer an array of formal educational reforms and informal practical solutions designed to rekindle and to nurture female interest in computer design and technology. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Who is this book for? Women in high school or college that are thinking about or are currently pursuing computing. Parents of children interested in computers. Educators in the K-12 environment and university environment. Any person interested in gender inequity and/or computing.
I think if you're looking for a recreational read this isn't really your cup of tea, but if you're looking for an academic source I highly recommend it.
misdirect remedial efforts. Some roots of the recruitment problem lie in the inequities of pre-college access to computer experience; some (as other research has shown) reflect the gendered character of IT industry products that target children and young people. As a result, few of those female students who possess strong mathematical, linguistic, or logical thinking skills enter college with sufficient disciplinary knowledge and experience to entertain computer science as a major. They may also have limited information about the range of careers open to CS graduates.
As the study also documents, women who do enter CS majors (approximately 15% of this student population) are apt to be discouraged by the misogyny of the peer culture (which varies from, but is related to, that documented in other science majors). They are often strongly distanced from the geek persona that they (wrongly) perceive to be a requirement for success. The emergence of CS as a discipline that defines itself in conceptual, theoretical, and technical terms, and somewhat avoids functional application or customer-programmer negotiation, also reduces the appeal of the major to those women who are primarily interested in what they can do with computers. This group looks elsewhere (e.g., cognitive psychology, human-computer interaction institutes) in order to pursue their interest in computing with a more human focus.
As Margolis and Fishers' evidence also shows, elements in the traditional socialization of girls leave US women students at greater risk--either than their male peers or than international women students--of quitting CS classes, or the major, despite adequate or good academic performances. Experiencing insufficient personal encouragement from faculty and active discouragement from some male peers, perfectly competent women begin to doubt that they belong in the major, lose confidence, and leave. Foreign women were found to be less deterred either by these elements in the CS culture, or by their low entering levels of CS experience.
The authors discuss the relative importance of these causal factors and describe the interventions developed at their study site (Carnegie Mellon University) to address each of them. They also discuss the serious global consequences of failure to address gender disparity in IT as a discipline and as an industry, namely, a constant bias in product
development that both misses and mistakes customer needs, and perpetuation of a cycle in which half of the world's talent is diverted from this central field of human endeavor.
If you want to make a difference in this field, first read this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
evaluation of gender differences in technical education
presented along with concrete and practical suggestions...Read more