24 October 2014

Blame Charlie Chaplin

Steve Henn makes a provocative hypothesis. He notes the time-correlation between the dropoff in women majoring in computer science, which began in about 1984, and the rise of home PCs, marketed predominantly to men and boys.
In the 1990s, researcher Jane Margolis interviewed hundreds of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University, which had one of the top programs in the country. She found that families were much more likely to buy computers for boys than for girls — even when their girls were really interested in computers.

This was a big deal when those kids got to college. As personal computers became more common, computer science professors increasingly assumed that their students had grown up playing with computers at home.

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