Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Gender parity in computer science could take 280 years

Gender parity in computer science could take 280 years
26 Apr

It will take close to three centuries for gender parity to be achieved among academics working in computer science unless action is taken to fix the imbalance, according to new research from the University of Melbourne.

The meta-study – The gender gap in science: How long until women are equally represented? – estimated the gender of 36 million authors from more than 100 countries publishing some 10 million papers in around 6000 journals, covering the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) disciplines over the last 15 years.

Analysis of the data – made easier thanks to the creation of a publically accessible web-app – found that computer science had the lowest number of published female authors, except for quantitative finance. It also had one of the slowest rates of change in its gender make-up over the years.

“Despite recent progress, the gender gap appears likely to persist for generations, particularly in surgery, computer science, physics, and maths,” wrote Luke Holman, Devi Stuart-Fox and Cindy Hauser from the university’s School of BioSciences.

“We conclude that many research specialties [like computer science] will not reach gender parity this century, given present-day rates of increase in the number of women authors,” they added in the paper, published in PLOS Biology.

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