Can Girls Become Coders?

hard to get women into techThere’s been lots of talk about boosting the number of women in technology over the past few decades. But it looks like the U.S. technology workplace is actually getting less diverse when it comes to gender.

In 1984 almost 40% of all computer science majors in the country were women. That number has now plummeted to just 18%, according to a new study by Accenture and Girls Who Code (GWC).

Just A Few Bright Lights

Organizations like GWC, which hosts an annual meeting for women in tech that draws 15,000 attendees, have pushed hard to help more women get involved in tech. But while some female bright lights have emerged in tech in recent years (Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube and Virginia Rometty of IBM come to mind), the overall trend is looking surprisingly poor.

In addition to falling numbers of women coders, the salary picture has darkened. The new report showed that the salary gap between men and women has gotten worse, growing from a differential of $8,540. in 2011 to $12,661 in 2016.

Vicious Cycle

Various industry reports show companies having a hard time getting their tech workforces to be even 30% female. For the moment, it appears that a vicious cycle is preventing improvement. Many women who do go into tech report that they feel various types of discrimination in a male-dominated tech world. That type of news may be discouraging more girls from pursuing tech degrees, which results in even the most forward-looking companies from having fewer and fewer qualified candidates for technology jobs.

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