Tech Firms Want More Female Computer Whizzes
Great article in US News and World Report on the “corporate wake up call” regarding the participation of women in computer science. CRA’s Jan Cuny (and CRA’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W)) gets a nice mention. Here’s a sample:
That sense of isolation and inadequacy is one reason the number of women earning computer science degrees in this country has plummeted over the past two decades–with women dropping from 37 percent to 28 percent of graduates–at the very moment their presence in other scientific and engineering disciplines has soared. “You look at the national statistics,” says Rick Rashid, senior vice president of research at Microsoft, “and you just have to be appalled.”
Until recently, many in the high-tech industry shrugged off that female brain drain. They could fill top information-technology slots from abroad or American doctoral programs, where foreign nationals still snag half the Ph.D.’s. But suddenly homeland security issues and visa hurdles have clogged that foreign pipeline. And countries like India are luring their U.S.-educated citizens back home to their own burgeoning Silicon Valleys.
Faced with forecasts of a looming brainpower shortage–and the retirement of those baby boomers who are the industry’s pioneers–many leading U.S. players fear the country could lose its competitive edge. “Over the next seven years, our hiring needs are going to be huge,” says Wayne Johnson, executive director of HP’s university relations worldwide. “If you don’t have half the U.S. population participating, you have a tremendous gap in filling these needs. What we’re doing here is creating a disadvantage for ourselves as a nation.”
Read the whole article here.