A small California college has bolstered women’s representation in computer sciences, but tech industry bias persists
[Editor’s note: This piece was originally published in 2012. At the time, a large number of readers agreed that the gender gap existed. We thought the story worth a re-post to ask you if you thought any and/or enough progress has been made in closing this gender gap. Is this even still a problem? Weigh in through comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me @eSN_Meris on Twitter.]
The rise of the brash, stylish, computer-geek-turned-cool-guy known simply as a “brogrammer” among popular technology startups threatens to further alienate women from enrolling in computer science courses, where for years they have been vastly underrepresented, higher-education officials said.
Mainstreaming of the label “brogrammer”—a combination of bro and programmer—began among technology companies appealing to recent college graduates who are experts at writing computer code. It has since seeped into higher education, where students said it has reinforced the archetype of a tech-savvy student ready for post-graduation life in the technology industry: A man.
“Some people say brogrammer is not sexist, because women can be programmers, too. They’re just called hogrammers,” said Xanda Schofield, a junior computer sciences major at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., where the college’s president has pushed for more women in technology-focused majors. “Hearing that, you realize that people just don’t understand the problem. They’re trying to make programming cool by excluding women, making it boys only. It makes me wonder why someone would try to apply a social construct that’s discriminating when you can just appeal to all students.”
(Next page: The history of the problem)