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Monday, Jun 5, 2023

Still Too Few Women Entering Technology Field

I am particularly grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by the strong women who dedicated their life’s work to increasing the social, political and educational opportunities for women through the women’s rights movement. Without the efforts of women more than 100 years ago, I would not have been able to achieve my own educational and career goals. As regional president of the Southern California locations of DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management, I have immersed myself in the vibrant DeVry culture and made it a top priority to identify the issues that concern the university’s students, faculty and employees. The underrepresentation of women in the technology field is of particular importance to the university and to me. The facts about women in technology are particularly alarming: – In 2000, women accounted for 17 percent of college-bound students who took the computer science Advanced Placement Exam, according to the American Association of University Women. – In 2004, women received only 17 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees, down from 19 percent in 2000, according to the Computing Research Association. – Women account for less than 27 percent of computer and mathematics professionals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2006 Current Population Survey. – Computing remains a heavily male-dominated field, according to “Women and Information Technology, Research on Underrepresentation,” published in March, 2006. Many women and girls still shy away from technology careers for a variety of reasons: There are fewer female role models working in technology; they’re afraid the industry is dominated by “geeks”; or they incorrectly perceive technology careers to involve long, solitary hours. The problem is clear and a solution is needed. The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau has written that women should consider entering technology fields: “Women need to recognize that in addition to paying well, these jobs are key in the changing economy of the 21st century and should receive serious consideration as career choices. Projections for future growth indicate that computers, software and applications for information technology will continue to have a substantial impact on lives and employment opportunities in the United States.” The challenge is educating young women about the technology jobs open to them in almost every sector, including business and health care, and helping them see beyond the stereotypes of these jobs. Technology educators and industry leaders must make it a priority to make women aware of the opportunities available to them in technology. Dr. Rose-Marie Dishman is President of DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management in Southern California.

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