Where are all the Girls?

Boys dominate Jones’ only computer science class


POWERFUL Patricia Guerrero ’17 codes in Computer Science. Photo courtesy of Olivia Landgraff ’18

Seven-that is how many girls one would find in Exploring Computer Science, a class of twenty-seven.

Taught by Justin Huang, Exploring Computer Science covers a wide range of topics, including website design, data analysis, programming, and robotics.

“There is definitely [a] science and math aspect of it. You have to focus a lot and look for tiny mistakes, it’s very detail orientated. You’re learning something important for the future,”  said Olivia Landgraff ‘18.

A ratio of boys outnumbering girls in a high school computer science class is not obscure, but is quite common in the United States. The New York Times reports that just 0.4% of all female college freshmen state that they intend to major in computer science, while a 2014 National Science Foundation study shows how women make up only 18% of computer science majors today.

“The underrepresentation of women in the industry makes it seem like a field that girls would not be interested in because they don’t see many people like them in the field,” said Huang.

The idea that computer science is not for girls is another possible reason as to why so few girls are enrolled in the class.

“Girls are told that they can’t [be] or they’re not supposed to be computer scientists because it’s like a boy’s job,” said Luisa Bryan ‘17.

Many students have not been exposed to computer science, which might be a reason for why there are few girls taking the class.

“There might be a miscommunication about what computer science is. The message that computer science being something only for  men, or for certain people, [could] be communicated and so a person might not even think to approach that field,” said Huang.

If the class is offered next year, students hope to see more girls behind the computer screens.

“There is no reason why it shouldn’t be equal for gender. The fact the many boys take it shouldn’t be a roadblock,” said Jack Quinn ‘17.

Girls currently taking the class want to end the belief that computer science is only for boys.

“Defeat the stereotype!” said Landgraff.