A whopping 73 per cent of boys in the US are confident about learning computer science as compared to girls (60 per cent), according to a report that highlights prevalent gender gaps in learning the subject.
The report, titled ‘Current Perspectives and Continuing Challenges in Computer Science Education in US K-12 Schools’, was conducted by Gallup and commissioned by Google.
It showed that only 25 per cent girls are interested in learning computer science as compared to 50 per cent boys.
Further, just 15 per cent of girls were enrolled in classes where only computer science is taught, compared with 27 per cent of boys. Girls (30 per cent) also feel less confident they could be successful in learning computer science, than boys (41 per cent).
Just a third (31 per cent) of girls in grades 7-12 noted that it’s important for them to learn computer science as against 49 per cent of boys in these grades.
Adults also were found to encourage boys (52 per cent) more often than they encourage girls (37 per cent) to pursue a career in computer science. Even parents of girls (29 per cent) thought it is less likely for them to learn computer science for a career.
“Behind these statistics are real students who are missing opportunities for acquiring critical skills, knowledge, and opportunities. When girls miss out on opportunities to learn computer science, the tech industry misses out on their perspectives and potential innovations,” said Carina Box, CS Education Partnerships Lead, in a blogpost on Google.
The results are based on the study of students, parents, teachers, principals and administrators conducted in January and February 2020.
To highlight the voices of the girls behind the findings, Google also partnered with London-based designer Sahara Jones.
“We’re making these graphics available for advocates, nonprofits and policymakers to use in presentations, publications or on social media. Our goal is to help increase awareness about this important topic and ultimately engage advocates in their own work to close the gender gap in computer science education,” Box said.
As part of its commitment to close equity gaps in computer science, Google has also started a slew of initiatives. They include ‘CS First’ — Google’s introductory computer science curriculum targeted at underrepresented primary school students all around the world, including girls; and Code Next — it trains the next generation of Black and Latino tech leaders with a free high-school computer science curriculum, mentorship and community events.
“We’re grateful to educators for motivating girls to believe in themselves and encouraging them to explore how computer science can support them, no matter what career paths they take. We’re also proud to be part of a group of technology companies, governments and nonprofits in this fight for change,” Box said.