The Structural & Social Barriers to the Pursuit of Computer Science Skills

Google and Gallup just released the Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation of Girls, Blacks, and Hispanics report. The title jumped right out at me especially since Couragion’s mission is to inspire the underrepresented to pursue competencies and careers in STEM. The survey incorporated the perspectives of students, parents, and educators in order to understand the structural and social barriers to the pursuit of computer science skills. Growing up rural in the ‘80s, I am surprised in retrospect that our school offered Computer Science (CS). I recall asking about the class but was told it wasn’t for someone in the AP track. Sounds like a structural issue to me. Thankfully I still found my path to STEM. 

Here are a few interesting observations drawn from the report:

  • Female students are less likely to be aware of the opportunities and to say they are interested in learning CS. Male students are more likely to be told by a parent or teacher that they would be good at CS.
  • Black and Hispanic Students show higher interest than white students in learning CS. Black and Hispanic parents are more likely to believe their child will and would like to learn CS.

While Black and Latino students have less access to courses or technology (in school or at home) to learn Computer Science, male and female students have the same level of access. So if access isn’t the issue for females – then what is? Read the report to learn more. 

Melissa RisteffComment