Grace Hopper - Building On Her Legacy
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015

It won't come as news to hear about gender imbalance in our industry. There are however a range of initiatives to address the low proportion of women in tech jobs, including this "Amazing Grace" cartoon comic.

The statistics are bleak - only 12% of computing jobs in the US are held by women and there is a real need for change.

 

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According to projections from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics there could be a 1million shortfall in Computer Science graduates available to fill jobs in the computing industry by 2020. One way to increase the number of suitably qualified candidates is to persuade more girls into computer science educational programs.

Code.org, which launched the Hour of Code and has developed ongoing educational programs to build on its success reached over 10 million girls with its inaugural Hour of Code - a statistic it reported as "More girls tried computer science in 2013 than in the past 70 years".

If you turn the clock back 60-70 years there wasn't the same gender imbalance. In the days when the it was the person working with the machine that was called the "computer", this was a role mainly filled by women.

Looking at this graph of the percentage of Women Majors from 1965, Computer Science grew in popularity, outstripping Physical Science and Medical School until 1884 when the trend went into reverse while the other two continued on until around 2002. While the decline halted around 2005 it was at the low level of around 18% compared to over 40% for Physical Science and over 45% for medicine.

 

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This suggests that women looking for a career in science are put off computer science. Organizations like Women in Computing and Girls Who Code are putting a lot of effort into pointing to positive role models to attract girls to computer-related careers. Grace Hopper fills this role admirably (pun intended) as epitomized by this comic,which initially appeared on Udemy.

 

 

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The comic was drawn by Pablo Stanley,an experience designer at Udemy who explains:

I was so inspired by Grace Hopper that I wanted to pay tribute to this rarely recognized pioneer. Hope she inspires you as much as she inspires me.

Although Grace Hopper will probably already be well known to readers of I Programmer, the comic distills the story in a highly accessible way.

 

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More Information

Grace Hopper Comic - Udemy

Related Articles

Visualizing the Gender Gap in Computer Science 

Grace Hopper - The Mother of Cobol

A New Hour Of Code

 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 January 2015 )