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Motivating Women to Computer Science Education

Motivating Women to Computer Science Education
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Author(s): Roli Varma (University of New Mexico, USA) and Marcella LaFever (University of New Mexico, USA)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Eileen M. Trauth (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch142


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The problem of disproportional representation of women in the computer science (CS) field in post-secondary education has become a major concern (AAUW, 2000; Camp, 2002; Carver, 2000; Varma, 2003). Currently, universities are increasing their focus on retaining women into CS programs. However, the number of women in that field remains low in proportion to males, and many women who are recruited often drop out or switch majors before completing their degree in CS (National Science Board, 2004, pp. 2-6, 3-17). In order to promote retention, it is important to compare possible differences in learning motivation between males and females in CS, examine changes in motivations across the span of CS study, and assess whether recruitment messages and program structures are matched (or mismatched) to the motivations of females. This article investigates the motivations for women to enter into, remain in, and continue the study of CS at the post-secondary level.

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