Why do boys outnumber girls for computer science?

A poll on The Student Room shows that the study of computer science is dominated by men as their female counterparts make up only 29.31% of computer science students and applicants.

This has not always been the case as between 1973 and 1984 the number of female students for computer science rose from 15% to a high of 37% but has been in decline since, despite the fact that 51% of women graduate with a science degree.

There is a concern that geeks drive girls out of computer science and that the perception of a typical class is dominated by ‘masculine geeky’ toys such as Star Trek/Wars memorabilia and computer games; a stereotype that doesn’t appeal to many women.

Researcher, Sapna Cheryan wrote in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that “computer science is missing out on female perspectives”, which is echoed in discussion amongst TSR users wondering “Do girls bring something different to the Comp Sci world?”

Amongst the +260 posts one user believes that men may be more focussed on the technical side of the work whilst women are able to combine it with more structure and aesthetic details.

Others worried about being perceived negatively by their male peers, but the majority of current male computer science students say that they would welcome having more girls in their class, which is encouraging given the stereotype of an archaic divide between the sexes when it comes to technology.

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