When only 2.5% of your students are female

The head of the CS Department at Purdue University is reporting that only 6 out of 155 freshmen are females. That’s a meagre 2.5%.

Does it matter? Yes it does. When half the population thinks that a given field is without any interest, you have a serious problem.

Elsewhere on this blog, I reported that at a school like the University of Montreal, there are more new students in Physics than in Computer Science. Should I remind you that many Physics Departments have closed down since we’ve stopped sending people on the moon?

I get the feeling that we will look back on the current years as being historical for Computer Science. Maybe the pendulum will switch back, maybe it will break and fall on the floor. Who knows?

If you need me, I’ll be in the Mathematics Department before dropping by the Business School, on my way to meet the Environmental Sciences people. See yah!

Daniel Lemire, "When only 2.5% of your students are female," in Daniel Lemire's blog, February 17, 2006.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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