Recently, there’s been a rising concern for the representation of women within the technology industry. Some are concerned that women are not being given enough chances to succeed in the field, and there’s been an overall concern about the representation within the S.T.E.M. side of academics. However, there are positive signs of the field getting more talented women in the field, as recent information about Stanford University’s most popular major for female students was revealed to be computer science. In a pure numbers view, 214 woman have signed up to major in computer science at the university, which makes up 30% of the major in the department. The major itself as a whole is the most popular at the university, making up 20% of students with declared majors. 49% of the university’s students are female as well.
The original holder of the title was biology, which now resides in second place with 208. It helps that Stanford university is one of the more well respected universities in the field of computer science, ranking high in most categories regarding the education received. It’s unclear about if this is a trend, as not all information regarding these numbers for other universities are readily available. Computer Science Stanford professors like Eric Roberts are happy to see the increase in enrollment from the female side of things:
“We’ve crossed that threshold where women feel supported and comfortable. What we need to do is not turn anyone away because they feel unsupported, and a vibrant core community with a critical mass is essential.”
There have been concerns about the representation of women within the field, as the percentage of women earning Bachelor’s degrees in the field has been declining from the period of 1991-2011, based on a study from the department of education. Reasons of various sorts have been cited regarding this change, but the numbers seemed to point to a decline overall in the interest of the field, despite it being as high as 37% in the 1980s. While Stanford’s one case doesn’t reach that number yet, it may be a sign that more attention is being paid to getting people interested in the field of programming
I graduated in the field of Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008, and it’s good to see that there’s more ladies getting involved in the field as a whole. There’s definitely a lot of talent out there in terms of design and programming knowledge, and with Stanford being one of the top universities, it’ll hopefully see a trend of talented individuals making their impact in the field.