Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

by Jane Margolis, Allan Fisher

Hardcover

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Overview

The information technology revolution is transforming almost every aspect of society, but girls and women are largely out of the loop. Although women surf the Web in equal numbers to men and make a majority of online purchases, few are involved in the design and creation of new technology. It is mostly men whose perspectives and priorities inform the development of computing innovations and who reap the lion's share of the financial rewards. As only a small fraction of high school and college computer science students are female, the field is likely to remain a "male clubhouse," absent major changes.

In Unlocking the Clubhouse, social scientist Jane Margolis and computer scientist and educator Allan Fisher examine the many influences contributing to the gender gap in computing. The book is based on interviews with more than 100 computer science students of both sexes from Carnegie Mellon University over a period of four years, as well as classroom observations and conversations with hundreds of college and high school faculty. The interviews capture the dynamic details of the female computing experience, from the family computer kept in a brother's bedroom to women's feelings of alienation in college computing classes. The authors investigate the familial, educational, and institutional origins of the computing gender gap. They also describe educational reforms that have made a dramatic difference at Carnegie Mellon—-where the percentage of women entering the School of Computer Science rose from 7% in 1995 to 42% in 2000--and at high schools around the country.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262133982
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 12/01/2001
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Jane Margolis is a Senior Researcher at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the coauthor of Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (MIT Press). She was a 2016 White House Champion of Change for her work addressing underrepresentation of students of color and women in computer science.

Allan Fisher, former Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, is President and CEO of Carnegie Technology Education, a Carnegie Mellon education company.

What People are Saying About This

Anita Borg

Drs. Margolis and Fisher have done a great service to education, computer science, and the culture at large. Unlocking the Clubhouse should be required reading for anyone and everyone who is concerned about the decreasing rate of women studying computer science.

Endorsement

On the surface it seems that computing should be an attractive career for women, but for many it hasn't been. Margolis and Fisher give us a deep and nuanced insight into this troubling problem. No simplistic answers are offered, but rather the far richer perspectives of real human experience.

Wm. A. Wulf President, National Academy of Engineering

From the Publisher

Drs. Margolis and Fisher have done a great service to education, computer science, and the culture at large. Unlocking the Clubhouse should be required reading for anyone and everyone who is concerned about the decreasing rate of women studying computer science.

Anita Borg , President and Founding Director, Institute for Women and Technology

On the surface it seems that computing should be an attractive career for women, but for many it hasn't been. Margolis and Fisher give us a deep and nuanced insight into this troubling problem. No simplistic answers are offered, but rather the far richer perspectives of real human experience.

Wm. A. Wulf President , National Academy of Engineering

Wm. A. Wulf President

On the surface it seems that computing should be an attractive career for women, but for many it hasn't been. Margolis and Fisher give us a deep and nuanced insight into this troubling problem. No simplistic answers are offered, but rather the far richer perspectives of real human experience.

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Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago

I saw this book quoted a number of times on the web on both American and British sites and was intrigued. It evidently was producing a hot reaction (both supportive and antagonistic) from people who had read it.

About two-thirds of the book is a report on how girls with a natural bent towards science and technology fare at school and at home. I'd say that there's nothing here that would be surprising to a woman scientist or technical worker, but it was apparently breaking news to teachers -- who were bribed with the lure of free programming classes to listen to the material. To their everlasting credit, the AP Computer Science teachers changed the way they recruited and taught, and Carnegie Mellon University received a higher quality and more balanced input to their School of Computer Science. It's just a pity that the book is short on the details of how the high school teachers accomplished this miracle.

A major question that has been raised by the book is: Why should we interfere with women's decision not to major in CS, or to change to another discipline? The authors say that women are 'missing out on a field with high salaries and plentiful jobs'. They claim that the 75% failure rate of software projects is 'attributed to a shortage of skilled workers'. The irony of the situation is that this book may have been published too late to save an industry in crisis, and that the women who elected to choose careers away from computing may have been the clever ones after all.