this “Wordle“ was created by manyeyes.com, a site by
fernanda Viégas and martin Wattenberg as part of IBm’s Collaborative
user experience research group.
Western Europe, while the overall percentage of math and CS undergraduate degrees going to women is just
30%, some countries have been doing
significantly better—Portugal was at
41% in 2004, Finland 42%, Greece 40%,
and Italy 43%. In North America, Mexico also fares reasonably well, with
38% of math and CS undergraduate
degrees awarded to women.
˲ The total number of female CS
graduate students in the U.S. grew
from 9,881 in 1997 to 12,061 in 2005.
The proportion of women awarded
CS master’s degrees rose from 26.4%
in 1995 to 28.5% in 2005, and the proportion of women awarded CS doctoral degrees rose from 16.5% in 1997
to 19.8% in 2005,
25 pointing to some
˲ The proportion of newly hired
women in U.S. and Canadian CS faculty increased from 18% in 1995 to 24%
˲ The proportion of women in full CS
professorships more than doubled between 1995 and 2007, from 5% to 10.9%.
˲ The number of women in significant academic leadership positions
has increased. For example, the proportion of female university presidents
in the U.S. rose from 18% in 199531 to
23% in 2007.1 In recent years, some
high-profile research institutions—
including Brown, Harvard, Michigan,
MIT, Princeton, Penn, RPI, and several
University of California campuses—
named their first woman presidents.
˲ The percentage of U.S. informa-tion-technology patents obtained by
female inventors rose from 4.4% in
1995 to 6.1% in 2005.22
the Bad news
The gains listed here, while encouraging, stop short of achieving equal representation and point to the fact that
much work has yet to be done.
The proportion of undergraduate
CS degrees received by women has
declined sharply—from 37% in 1985
to 22% in 2005.25 In research-intensive
CS departments that participate in the
annual Taulbee Survey conducted by
en among CS degree recipients has
6 Across genders, the
proportion of African-American Ph.D.
recipients in the United States and Canada has remained unchanged at 1–2%
since 1995, and Hispanic representation has dropped from 3% to 2%.
˲ The proportion of female CS graduate students in the U.S. remained flat
at 27% from 1997 to 2004 and declined
to 25% in 2005.23 Similarly in the European Union, the proportion of women
earning math and CS doctorates has
stood at 24%.
“My slogan is: computing is
too important to be left to men.”
KaRen sPaRCK-Jones: PIoneeR In InfoRmatIon RetRIeVaL
anD natuRaL LanGuaGe PRoCessInG. 1935–2007
the Computing Research Association
(CRA), the number dropped from 19%
in 2001 to 11.8% in 2006–2007.6
˲ Interest in CS as a major is at an
all-time low both for men and women.
In a 2007 teacher survey, a lack of student interest at the high-school level
was cited as the number-one challenge.
5 Intention of women freshmen
to major in computer science dropped
from 2.8% in 1985 to 1.3% in 1995 and
to 0.4% in 2006.23, 25
˲ Since 1995, the representation of
African-American and Hispanic wom-
˲ Women in CS faculty positions at
U.S. four-year institutions remain underrepresented, at just 15.8% of all faculty and 11% of full professors.
minority women are doubly underrepresented on faculties, with Asian and
African-American women holding
just 3% of faculty positions. Hispanic
and Native American women are virtually nonexistent among CS faculty.
Disparity in faculty salaries across all
disciplines has remained unchanged
since the 1970s—women faculty earn
81% of men’s salary for equivalent
feBRuaRY 2009 | vol. 52 | No. 2 | CommunICatIons of the aCm