Did You Know?

Did you know that there’s a business case for why you should include gender diversity at your startup? Inc. Magazine this week looks at research pointing to some of the many benefits that women bring to young organizations, including better problem-solving, lower failure rates, increased efficiency, and higher return on investment. 
Are you a fan of TV shows such as Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, or No Reservations? Did you ever think about whether these shows’ hosts were hired for their gender, rather than simply their expertise or charisma? A casting call for some new TV shows recently caught the attention of a Scientific American writer, because they specifically request male candidates, although the content and projected audience for the shows is not male-centered. “… there’s NO REASON to rule out the possibility that a female host could not be just as convincing and charismatic in this kind of role.  I’m certain that there are many extremely captivating female engineers and entomologists that could rock these positions.”
Did you see the new report from the Level Playing Field Institute on hidden bias in the IT workplace? If you missed this week’s Workforce Alliance webinar, here’s your chance to get up to speed on this illuminating new research that looks at the culture of technical companies for men, women, and Persons of Color. Among the findings: 

Twice as many men as women think that their companies spend “the right amount of time” addressing issues of diversity.
Women in large companies reported the highest rates of negative experiences of any group, even compared to women at startups. 
Underrepresented people of color were least satisfied with their job, least satisfied with skill development opportunities, and most likely to leave the company.

The report is a useful tool for uncovering the sources of hidden bias within your own organization, and offers four straightforward recommendations for making improvements.
Did you know that between 2009 and 2010, the percent of African Americans studying towards graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics surged a whopping 33.6%?  Although their numbers are still small (just 981 students) the Council of Graduate Schools believes that the majority of these new students are working towards computer science degrees. Since the Taulbee survey of PhD-granting institutions found no similar uptick, it’s believed that most of these new grad students are working on Master’s degrees. Some speculate that the increase reflects students’ perceptions that a graduate degree makes them more valuable in the workplace, while others hope that it reflects the success of many programs to bridge more minority computing students into graduate programs. 
Did you know that the Computer Science Education Act was introduced to Congress last week? If passed, the CSEA would make computing education a priority and help individual states take actions to improve computing education. Some key features of the Act:

A commission to review K-12 computing education nationwide
Grant funding for states to develop plans that assess their offerings and take steps to improve them
Grant funding for states to partner with school districts and local higher ed to implement their plans
Training programs for computing educators
Evaluation and accountability directly to Congress

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.

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