Today, computing skills are the most sought after in the United States. Yet, women’s share of the computing workforce is falling. Women in the U.S. computing workforce will shrink in the next 10 years unless we take action now.
In 2015, there were 500,000 new computing jobs to be filled but fewer than 40,000 new computer science graduates. This shortage is a fundamental economic challenge for the U.S. economy and its global competitiveness. But this decline can be reversed… we can triple the number of women in computing.
Our research identifies the effectiveness of implementing a strategy focused on three clear stages of a girl's education. We have used these insights to create a strategy that is precise, targeted and sequenced.
SPARK girls' interest. Show them how computing can be cool and fun, and that it's not just for boys.
At this age, girls who play computer games are four times more likely to go into computing or coding as adults than those who don't. They're less likely to see the subject as just for boys, to think boys are better at it than girls, or to think of computing as "geeky" rather than "cool."
Sustain engagement in high school
SUSTAIN girls' engagement. Large numbers of girls who were engaged in computing in junior high lose interest in high school and never come back to computing. Make sure they don't fall into this "high school trap".
In the impressionable teen years, we must pay attention to their peer group and make sure that girls have friends doing computing as well and are not isolated in classrooms dominated by boys. Teaching is incredibly important at this age. 73% percent of high school girls who were interested in studying computing had a teacher who inspired them.
Inspire a career after college
INSPIRE young women through the use of role models, retooled courses and summer immersion programs.
When college women realize they can put computing skills to work in almost any career, in all industries and sector , they become much more open to computing as an option.
Who will crack the code?
No single stakeholder can achieve this alone, and this work demands collaboration around a widely shared agenda. Put simply, America needs more girls and young women in computing. It’s time to take the actions needed to make it happen. Together.
We have the opportunity to achieve the following:
Triple the number of women in computing by 2025
Boost women’s cumulative earnings by $299 billion
Increase women’s share of the computing workforce from 24% to 39