Women outnumber men in Berkeley computer science course for first time

21 Feb 2014

In an encouraging sign for the narrowing of the gender gap in technology, for the first time ever there are more women than men taking their introductory course in computer science at University of California, Berkeley.

According to a report initially published by the San Francisco Chronicle, the first indication that the tide may be turning with regard to gender imbalance in the STEM field as the class list shows that 106 women signed up for this year’s course, compared with 104 men; a slight majority but an important one none the less.

There still remains a significant gender gap in universities across the world as men still dominate teaching positions with regard to research in the STEM field.

According to figures obtained by the New York Times last year, America is one of many examples where computer science has seen a slow uptake among women. Only 18.4pc of computer science degrees were given to women (as of 2010).

This figure has actually been decreasing since 1991, when it was at a higher percentage of 29.6pc.

Elsewhere in the world, initiatives like #techmums, undertaken by computer scientist Dr Sue Black and and discussed at this year’s Future Jobs Forum, is also encouraging women in other areas, in this case mothers, who have distanced themselves from technology whether it being intentional or through lack of opportunities.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. On 7 March 2014, we will kick off the campaign’s second year. Let’s change the ratio.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic