A true picture of female participation in computer science and IT, in universities and in industries can only be illustrated through statistics. We observe participation of women in computer science in the United States of America. The source for this information is The National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov)
Data from the National Science Foundation shows that the female share of bachelor's degrees in computer science dropped from 37 percent in 1985 to 25 percent in 2004.
The female enrolment in master's degrees in computer science however, rose from 25% in 1985 up to 31% in 2004.
The percentage of females who earned a doctorate degree in computer science rose from only 10% in 1985 to 20% of all graduating students in 2004.
In percentages, the data is:
We see that more recently, the percentage of female students graduating with a bachelor's degree in computer science, has dwindled in comparison to the percentage of female students graduating with a master's degree or doctorate in computer science.
Overall, the female participation in universities still remains very low.
While women comprised 33 percent of information technology professionals in 1990, that figure was down to 26 percent in 2002.
Percentage of mathematical and computer scientists who are women declined from 33 percent in 1984 to 27% in 2004. In actual numbers, the gender disparities in this field are the most astonishing and pronounced.
The percentage of women computer programmers and systems analysts has been somewhat constant over the years. However, the male-female disparities are clearly evident in these fields of the industry too.
We see that a far greater number of women are employed as operations analysts and not as such as computer systems analysts and programmers, which are considered as the traditional roles in computing.
Though the fact that female participation in computer science is limited has been explained and emphasized earlier, the glaring gender divide in this field is brought to light through the data presented above. The stark differences between female and male participation in computing begins right from the university level and obviously follows through in the computing industry as well. In fact, the gender gap in the number of students graduating with educational qualifications in computer science seems to be on the rise, even though in actual numbers female participation is increasing. Though the data presented only relates to the situation in the United States of America, most other nations worldwide observe similar trends in their national computing industries. Further information from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, (www.bls.gov) highlights the situation in the computing industry even further