The current analysis examines whether exposure to programming languages varies among different populations that are underrepresented in computing, and whether belonging to multiple underrepresented populations is associated with programming experience. Results show that students from multiple underrepresented populations in computing are less likely to have learned a programming language than their peers.
Computing Research News
Among non-student professionals in computing-related jobs, women and non-binary gendered survey respondents report lower confidence in their ability to negotiate for resources in their job. There were no statistically significant differences in survey respondents’ confidence to speak up about issues in meetings or with their supervisor.
Analysis of how welcome students feel in computing by intersections of race/ethnicity and gender, and disability status and gender shows that there are significant differences between students from various demographic groups ranging from 36% (Black women) to 75% (White men) of students in each group.
According to the Data Buddies Survey (2018), undergraduate students with pre-college coding experience tend to have higher sense of belonging in computing. Given the importance of sense of belonging for retaining students in the field of computing, this finding highlights the potential long-term benefits of engaging students in coding early-on.
According to the 2017 Data Buddies Survey, significantly higher percentages of students who are underrepresented in computing (29% and above) felt like an outsider in computing than majority men with no disabilities (17%). This lack of a sense of belonging was highest among the students with disabilities who are women or racial/ethnic minorities (45-46%).
Gender is complex; while many people identify as either “man” or “woman”, others identify as something other than traditional binary gender options (i.e. “non-binary” gender). CERP data indicate non-binary students report lower levels of peer support compared to their men and women peers.
In recent decades, there have been many Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) initiatives aimed at increasing the participation of women in these fields. In computer science and engineering, the percentage of women pursuing degrees and careers has remained relatively low. According to CRA’s annual Taulbee Survey of Ph.D. granting institutions, less than 15 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees were awarded to women in the 2013-14 academic year . Given the significant increases of women in other traditionally male dominated fields such as law and medicine in the past 50 years , computing’s persistent low representation of women is rather disappointing, to say the least. Women’s low participation is also alarming when we consider the increasing number of jobs in computing, as well as the positive impact of improving gender diversity on innovation in research settings  and on collective intelligence . So the question becomes, how do we change things?