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Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0262632691, Paperback)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
(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 19 Apr 2011 21:19:09 -0400)
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