Feeds

Trick-cyclist's claim: I have FOUND how to get GIRLS INTO TECH

Massive campaign of media lies ought to do it, says prof

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Ever since the dawn of time, it seems, the IT sector has noticed that it is staffed almost entirely by blokes and wondered how this could be changed. Now, through the unlikely agency of a psychology professor in America, it seems that change may finally be at hand.

"Understanding what prevents women from entering computer science is key to achieving gender parity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," we learn from a press release highlighting this groundbreaking research.

Enter professor Sapna Cheryan of Washington uni's psych department. The prof and her team believe they've cracked the matter of why young ladies tend not to zero in on a career in technology etc. We are told:

Cheryan and team sought to prove that the shortage of women in computer science and other scientific fields is not only due to a lack of interest in the subject matter on the part of women. In a first study, 293 college students from two US West Coast universities were asked to provide descriptions of computer science majors.

In a word, the description of comp-sci students furnished by the 293 students was: "nerdy". Specifically:

Both women and men spontaneously offered an image of computer scientists as technology-oriented, intensely focused on computers, intelligent and socially unskilled.

Blokes don't really care about this image, it seems, but the saucy young college minx is seriously put off by it.

So far, so ho-hum. But what's new about Cheryan and her crew is that they have a cunning scheme which can eliminate this unfortunate image and cause crowds of hot young sorority girls to get stuck in the door in their eagerness to sign up for computing. It seems that all that's necessary is to plant articles in the media which contradict the stereotype and instead depict IT types as more mainstream (presumably less intelligent, more socially skilled etc.)

We are told:

Exposure to a newspaper article claiming that computer science majors no longer fit current preconceived notions increased women's interest in majoring in computer science.

"Broadening the image of the people in the field using media representations may help to recruit more women into male-dominated fields such as computer science."

So it's in the hands of us media types*. All we need to do is write more stuff suggesting that IT guys are all immaculately-groomed, dashing hunks whose trousers descend well below mid-calf and who are largely uninterested in computers. Tell lies, in other words.

Cheryan and her colleagues' paper can be read here in the misleadingly saucily named journal Sex Roles. ®

Bootnote

*Or perhaps more usefully, media types at other outlets more widely read outside the largely male dominated IT sector.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.