You don’t need to be a social scientist to know there is a gender diversity problem in technology. The tech industry in Silicon Valley and across the nation is overwhelmingly male-dominated.

You don’t need to be a social scientist to know there is a gender diversity problem in technology. The tech industry in Silicon Valley and across the nation is overwhelmingly male-dominated.

That isn’t to say there aren’t women working at tech firms. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook have raised the profile of women at high-tech firms. But those prominent exceptions do not accurately portray who makes up the engineering ranks at those and other tech companies.

Visit Silicon Valley and you will hear many people talk about the need to increase the number of female hackers. The conventional wisdom about why there are so few female coders usually points a finger at disparities in the talent pool, which is linked to disparities in tech education. In fact, starting as early as adolescence, girls and boys often choose different academic paths. When the time comes for young people to elect to go into engineering school, serious gender disparities become visible.

A new study by University of Texas sociologist Catherine Riegle-Crumb in the journal Social Science Quarterly offers an interesting new perspective on this divide. Along with co-author Chelsea Moore, Riegle-Crumb decided to dive into the gender divide in high school physics courses. (Even as the gender divide in some areas of science has diminished, a stubborn gap has persisted for decades in high school physics.)

Source: NPR | Shankar Vedantam