The effect of the internet on women in science and engineering
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The Effect of the Internet on Women in Science and Engineering. My interest in this topic Superior female participation in my on-line class forums Higher grade averages for females than for males in on-line courses Papers that I had collected on the topic

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The Effect of the Internet on Women in Science and Engineering

  • My interest in this topic

    • Superior female participation in my on-line class forums

    • Higher grade averages for females than for males in on-line courses

    • Papers that I had collected on the topic

    • Internet as impacting on negative factors in female education

  • Can I get others involved?

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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The Issue Engineering

  • The representation of women in the field of computer science is low

    • Several factors have been proposed as discouraging female participation

    • Internet mechanisms may mitigate these specific factors

      • Distance learning, in particular, may be a positive factor for women (and minority groups) in computer science education

  • Yet representation in mathematics, medicine, and science has improved regardless of those factors

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Taulbee Surveys Engineering

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Taulbee Surveys Engineering

  • 1983-1985 36% of CS bachelor’s degrees awarded to women

  • 2000-2001 20% of CS bachelor’s degrees awarded to women

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Current Estimates Engineering

  • In CS, parity with males will not be reached until 2087-2088 using current trends

  • In science and engineering in general, women should reach parity in earned doctorates by 2007-2008

    • Computing Research News; May 2002

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Cultural bias Engineering

Education is for males since they are the “family support”

Immigrant cultures are sometimes biased

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, this bias is true for other sciences where women have mainly overcome it

The Internet can help:

The Internet exposes families and students to a wider cultural view

Females now total more than 50% of Internet users

Web sites advertising opportunities and women in the field can target parents and girls

Discouragement versus the Internet

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Sexual harassment Engineering

Gender disparagement

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, women have dealt with these in other sciences

Gender can be hidden on the Internet

Harassment and gender disparagement are less likely because of software (paper) trail that will be left

Discouragement / The Internet

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Lack of role models Engineering

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, women have dealt with this in other sciences

The Internet provides a large geographic area from which to obtain role models

MentorNet and other virtual communities provide role models and helping hands

Discouragement / The Internet

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Males are generally more aggressive in their speech Engineering

Males appear to be more self confident

Females appear to be more differential in their speech

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, women have dealt with this in other sciences

Female writing skills are typically better

Participating off-line (not real time) lets women check their work and thus have more confidence in their entries

On-line courses can guarantee “turns” in communications

We require forum entries

Different communication styles / The Internet

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Females still do the bulk of care-giving Engineering

Travel during late evening studies and work is more dangerous for women

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, women have dealt with this in other sciences

Much Internet work can be completed as time is available

No geographic limitations

No travel is required on the Internet

Time and safety concerns

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Studies at MIT, for example, show that women are not awarded equal salaries, space, honors, resources as men

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Although women have not surmounted discrimination in sciences and business, that has not prevented their strong entrance into other fields.

Internet support groups can provide some assistance to women in these struggles

Discrimination versus the Internet

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Computers are used as toys by boys but as tools by girls equal salaries, space, honors, resources as men

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet, in 1983-1985 there was a larger percentage and absolute number of women in undergraduate CS even though the material was at a less abstract level.

Is mathematics for girls?

Fisher – customize curriculums, aided by Internet instructors

Is Computer Science for Women?

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Perhaps girls who look for careers consider CS to be incompatible with raising a family

Perhaps CS is not considered rewarding enough

CS has the reputation of tekkies staying up all night

Many CS jobs do have crazy hours

Media gives CS a bum rap

The Internet allows work from home – specifically appropriate for women with small children

Contrast working at home for CS to medicine, nursing, elementary school teaching

These opportunities must be publicized

Is Computer Science For Women?

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Enhance traditional courses using the Internet incompatible with raising a family

  • The web is a resource for obtaining material

    • Research can be done in available time

  • Email is a powerful communication tool

    • Women are more willing to ask a question by email than in class

    • Answers should generally be forwarded to entire class

  • The Internet is useful for team communication

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Enhance traditional courses using the Internet incompatible with raising a family

  • Class material, such as syllabi, slides, etc. can be posted on web sites

    • Notes can be easily obtained if classes are missed

  • Material from educational mailing lists can be forwarded to classes as relevant

  • If we can get professors in different fields to use Internet enhancement, women might get interested in the field (back door)

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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On-line courses incompatible with raising a family

  • Class material is posted on web sites

  • Required forum entries is chief tool of communication between teacher and students

    • Males are limited in “hogging” discussion

    • Students post entries as time permits

      • Useful for care givers

    • Students have more time to think over the material and their answers

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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On-line courses incompatible with raising a family

  • There are few geographic or time restrictions

  • It is easier to have multiple faculty members teach classes

    • In particular, top women faculty can be included in part of multiple high level courses

  • It is easier to tailor courses to female strengths and interests

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Grade distribution in 15 FDU web courses incompatible with raising a family

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Distribution by classes incompatible with raising a family

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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The Internet and Multiculturalism incompatible with raising a family

  • Factors that favor women generally assist minorities

    • Virtual support groups

    • Geographically diverse teachers

    • Written participation rather than oral

      • Time factor

    • Diverse Internet reference material, perhaps in a foreign language

    • A web class as a virtual community

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Areas of necessary research incompatible with raising a family

  • Gather on-line course statistics for:

    • Other on-line programs at FDU

    • Other schools

    • Traditional classroom programs, to compare with on-line programs

  • Questionnaires to women about what is encouraging/discouraging about on-line courses

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Areas of necessary research incompatible with raising a family

  • Utilize the Internet for dissemination of opportunities and advantages of CS for women

    • Web pages on women scientists that stress advantages of CS – work from home, job satisfaction, family life

  • Advertise internet enhancement tools for traditional courses

WEPAN 2002 Conference June 10th San Juan, Puerto Rico


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