Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Gender Gap in Information Technology

In an essay published by "The Economist", the writer deliberately aggregates the data for all ethnic and racial groups and then alleges that cultural or other barriers prevent women from becoming workers in information technology (IT).

That abuse of statistics hides an important fact: the percentage of East-Asian-American women [1] in IT is above their percentage in the overall population. 1.42% of the American population are East-Asian women, according to data by the Pew Research Center and data by the U.S. Census Bureau. In a typical computer-science class at elite universities like MIT, the percentage of East-Asian-American women is much greater than 1.42%.

Barriers to entry into IT simply do not exist nowadays for women. American women of East-Asian ancestry easily enter IT.

Women of other racial and ethnic groups just dislike the hard work (at the university and, after graduation, in the workplace) that is necessary for IT. So, such women avoid IT.

Despite the above facts, the administrators at some universities create agendas to increase the percentage of women in IT. Harvey Mudd College is one such university; in its computer-science program, the percentage of women rose dramatically from 15% in 2006 to 55% in 2016. This startling increase may be due to weakening the program for technology-averse non-East-Asian women. Once a political agenda to increase women exists, professors become inclined to grade the work of their female students more leniently than the professors grade the work of their male students.

Note that East-Asian-American women succeeded before the existence of any major political agenda to increase the percentage of women. Such women succeeded due to the strong emphasis on education and hard work in East-Asian families in the United States.

Women of other ethnic and racial groups value education and hard work less than East-Asian women. That is the real explanation for the low percentage of women in IT.

1. East Asia comprises Japan, Korea, China, and Vietnam.

1 comment:

Ellen Perry said...

I think this is a very interesting stat. As a woman in IT I think it has validity. There are some strong elements of Asian culture that allow women to be successful in IT such as strong Introversion and analytical abilities. Although I am a Caucasian I also have those qualities to a high-degree. However, when programming became more complicated I focused more on design and UX. I still struggle with programming. I find it too dry. Many of the men in IT are on the spectrum so they enjoy hyper-focusing. No program can socially re-engineer human beings and their personality traits. I know some Asian women in IT who are absolutely brilliant. Thank you for pointing this out.