Women studying Computer Science
I am a woman studying Computer Science. What is it really like?
Women now represent 47% of the workforce, as compared to 38% in the 1970s however only 12% of engineers are female (computerscience.org).
Tracy Chou, Software Engineer at Pinterest: “I have very personally felt the overwhelming loneliness, self-doubt, and frustration that often comes with the minority status of a woman in engineering. As much as I can help others get through or avoid those difficult stretches that I myself had to weather, I’d like to. As a bonus, the more women (and minorities) that enter and don’t leave the field, the better it all gets for everyone, including me!”
In my lecture, amongst nearly 200 undergraduate students, only 15 are women. That's just a small population comparison how about women working in computer science-related professions has steadily declined since the 1990s, dropping from 35% to 25% in the last 15 years.
Women are an integral part of society; our skills, abilities and passion makes us suited for any job role and course. Then why is number of women in computer science declining?
Personally I and women I know in computer science feel that men think they are better computer scientists than us and downgrade our abilities. I experienced this on the smaller scale but was definitely eye opening; I academically performed better than my male members in my group for a project. I was pushed aside and my opinions and views were voted out as they assumed I was not capable. One even asked why "someone like me" was doing this degree. Someone like "me" to them is incapable. I am a Muslim, Bengali British woman that shows her creativity and expression through makeup and fashion but to those 'boys' I was incapable because I didn't look like a "computer scientist" in their eyes. I know that this experience is nothing compared to the unfair treatment and injustice minorities get in this male-dominated industry but I also know that there are women who have enjoyed and flourished in this industry.
Another issue was I and many others fear our career prospects. Statistically it is male dominated course and workforce so at the back of our minds there is this worry that we as women will not get hired in the big companies or big roles we wish for. But the worry of careers is applicable to all course. The inequality of pay gaps and job roles for women is a problem, it's demotivating to know that there is a chance that I could work and perform just as well as my male colleagues but they may be promoted and paid more than me. Statistics show that more than three out of four UK companies pay their male staff more than their female staff, and in nine out of 17 sectors in the economy, men earn 10 per cent or more on average than women (FinancialTimes.com).These unjust beliefs and 'normality' need to go!
However not all is bad, high percentage of my education in Computer Science has been positive. I have worked with men and women equally and collaboratively. I think women should be welcomed and treated with the respect they deserve as they study and work in the Computer Science industry. I think Computer Science should be promoted and advertised with women and for women. We need to be reminded and assured that we will be given equal chances and treated equally.
I hope that the statistics change and we see more women enjoy computer science the way I am lucky to experience.