A Pathway Perspective on Expanding the Participation of Women in IT

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 203 (Hynes Convention Center)
Despite concerted efforts to broaden participation, women remain underrepresented in computing. Although women were early entrants into the field, their representation peaked in the mid-1980s. By the late 1980s, women had stopped entering the field in large numbers and their representation began falling, and it has fallen steadily since. Among professional scientific fields, this makes computing unique, since no other field has recorded such a substantial decrease in the representation of women. To define the challenges facing women in computing as simply a pipeline problem would be a mistake. This session provides a critique of the pipeline metaphor, which assumes if we could find a better way to help move women and minorities from one stage to the next, the problem of underrepresentation and steep attrition would be solved. Speakers in this session offer an alternative conceptualization of this process, recognizing that challenges faced on the road to scientific careers are not experienced uniformly. Gender intersects with other identities, such as race/ethnicity and nativity, both of which influence entry, participation, and persistence in science. Disaggregating gender deepens our understanding and illustrates how identity shapes the contours of the scientific career path.
Enobong (Anna) Branch, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Mary Frank Fox, Georgia Institute of Technology
Sharla Alegria, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Mary Frank Fox, Georgia Institute of Technology
Women Faculty in Computing: A Key Case of Women in Science
Enobong (Anna) Branch, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Black Women Navigating Computing: Understanding the Challenges to Diversifying IT