Thursday, January 14, 2010

Barbie... a computer engineer?

The spring semester started this week, and I discovered, to my dismay, that I didn't have a single female in any of my 5 classes. I believe this is the first time in my career teaching computer science that this has happened.

Why no females? This isn't just a problem here at Harding... it afflicts CS departments across the nation.

And there are lots of reasons out there ranging from the geek culture of CS and stereotypes to lack of female role models.

But perhaps what we need to do is send a strong, positive message to females at an early age... how about a Computer Engineer Barbie?

This is not a joke... you can now vote what Barbie's next career is going to be. There are 5 choices: Computer Engineer, Environmentalist, Surgeon, Architect, and News Anchor. Of these 5, CE (a field that is strongly related to CS) is definitely the one most likely to be overlooked by a female today.

Do you think if Barbie becomes a computer engineer that it will mean more females in my classes in 5-10 years?