NCWIT Newsletter, Inspire Young Women to Choose Computing — February 2011




Inspire Young Women to Choose Computer Science

A computing major or minor provides a versatile skill set that crosses disciplines and is essential in today’s information economy. However, the number of people graduating from college with computer or information sciences degrees has been decreasing steadily since 2004. In the U.S. in 2009, women earned 18% of all computer information sciences undergraduate degrees. How can we encourage more women to study computing?

Different researchers have found that adult encouragement and more information about what computing professionals actually do in their jobs are factors to help motivate students to pursue computing. Below are some resources that can help you discuss computing with young women.

Talk with them
Use NCWIT’s Talking Points card, “Why should young women consider a career in information technology?” to have a conversation about the variety and security of IT work that can change a young woman’s image of computing.

Introduce them to computing in an engaging way
NCWIT’s Promising Practices offer several case studies about hands-on activities that take a new approach to a computer programming environment. View a full catalog at

Connect computing to their current interests
Co-branded with Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), NCWIT’s “Which computing majors are right for me?” explains how computing interests and talents line up with different undergraduate degrees and careers that follow.

Dot Diva provides tested messages that excite and educate students about careers in computing. Download resources or watch video profiles of young women in the field, and explore ways to relate passions — like astronomy, fashion, or social justice — to real-life computing applications.

Help them prepare
Co-branded with ACM and Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA), NCWIT’s “How can I prepare for a computing major?” gives computing-specific advice regarding steps to take on the path from high school to college.

Honor them
The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recognizes young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. The Award is sponsored by Bank of America at the national level and by Microsoft at the Affiliate level, with additional support from the Motorola Foundation and Google. Visit for more information.

SOURCE: DuBow, W. (2011). NCWIT Scorecard: A report on the status of women in information technology. Boulder: NCWIT.

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Copyright @ 2010. National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
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