Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ask Donna: How Do We Improve Computer Science’s Image?

Donna Milgram fields a great question from one of her readers. Like Donna, I think it would be great if some of the high-tech companies would step up and promote Computer Science careers to women and girls.

I wonder how that happens with a dearth of women in leadership positions in any of these companies. The only high-profile women I can think of are Marissa Mayer of Google, Yahoo's Carol Bartz, Carly Fiorina - formerly of Lucent and HP, and Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay. These are just of the top of my head, so I might be missing some, but also notice that two of the four are no longer at their companies and a third (Carol Bartz) is dealing with a difficult situation at Yahoo - embattled doesn't quite describe it. So maybe a better question - How do we get more girls and women into the boardrooms of our high-tech firms?

Question/Answer: How Do We Improve Computer Science’s Image?
Question from Wechie’s Comment of 8/21: There seems to be hundreds of separate initiatives to encourage girls to study computer science but there remains an image problem. How can we get an industry wide campaign going to improve the image of computing?

Donna: Yes, Wechie you are correct, there is a huge image problem. American Association of University Women’s Study, Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (2000) which you can download for free, documents the image problem among girls and many other studies have gone on to replicate these findings.

I would like to see one of the major computer giants – such as Apple or Electronic Arts – use their marketing savvy and department to team with a nonprofit (such as us) to develop a multi-media marketing campaign (YouTube, facebook, TV commercials, Posters) that could create a more positive image of computer science for women and girls (and men!).

1 comment:

Donna Milgram said...

Good point Mike, you might be interested in this study by Catalyst "The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women's Representation on Boards" The IT World might be interested in the higher performance results of companies with women on the board!
Donna Milgram


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