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Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?



Hi Steph, all

On the question which CS subjects are preferred by girls: From my
experience it's (unsurprisingly) mostly the creative subjects that are
connected to design or media that are attractive to girls or women. As
the consequence these subjects are often not taken seriously by fellow
CS students from more "technical fields". They tend to be (wrongly!)
dismissed as girlish, artsy and non-technical informatics. As a
consequence of that you get even more girls in these subjects since the
ratio of men sinks, as they don't want to do "girlish CS". All this is a
pretty unfortunate development.

Apparently the root of women choosing these subjects does not so much
lie in their arts aspects but in their interdisciplinarity. I recently
talked to a gender researcher about this topic and her results showed
that girls/women feel especially attracted to interdisciplinary studies.
At least within Europe the women ration is much higher in
interdisciplinary CS studies like media informatics, bioinformatics, or
business informatics than in pure informatics. The same goes for
engineering.

I guess this goes quite nicely with the general observation that men
tend(!) to prefer digging deep into one subject while women tend(!) to
prefer having a broad knowledge.

Best,
Meike


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