One great thing about IBM events is that you get to meet some of the most influential and poignant thinkers of our time. That said, I was excited about the opportunity to talk to Reshma Saujani, CEO and Founder of Girls Who Code in preparation for dev@Pulse, the developer-focused conference-in-a-conference at IBM Pulse.
What struck me from talking to Reshma is that the gender inequality in the field of software development appears to be growing. As she states on her website, “Though women earn 57% of bachelors degrees overall, we earn just 12% of bachelors degrees in Computer Science. This is a massive drop from 1984, when women earned 37% of CS bachelors.”
She explains some of the reasons why this might be and also touches on the programs Girls Who Code run at the High School level to redress the balance. Now here what struck me was the huge growth in the number of participants in the programs she runs. This would suggest that a large reason girls aren’t going into computer science is at least somewhat tied to fear and environmental factors: given the right nurturing circumstances and programs, we could see the bias pull back in the right direction and end up with a software development industry that more closely mirrors its target audience.