Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Women in CS

As a woman in Computer Science, I have had a front row seat to determine, by personal experience, whether or not there exists discrimination in the field. After spending 5 years in the field (both in school and in the workplace), I have concluded that discrimination does exist, but mostly in a subtle, unconscious form, and not any outright hostility. For example, the most common discrimination I’ve experienced comes in the form of men who are uncomfortable working with women, for whatever reason. This is especially a problem at BYU, where many of the male students are married, and avoid working in a group with a woman. I have also experienced unconscious assumptions about my ability or desire to work, based on the fact that I am a woman. This happened while I was a tutor for CS courses and in my current position working for the Corporations of the Church. Fortunately, most men with whom I have worked are good people, and the discriminations I have experienced are certainly not career-altering or life-changing. I am convinced that most discrimination is completely subconscious and unintentional; therefore, the best remedy is a continuing awareness of the issue, and a commitment from men to fully include the few women that choose to enter the field of Computer Science.

No comments: