Tracy Camp

Survey Results on the Incredible Shrinking Pipeline

Tracy Camp1
Colorado School of Mines

The introduction of the incredible shrinking pipeline is taken from Communications of the ACM, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 103-110, Oct. 1997, with permission. See [Camp 1997] for the full paper.



Abstract


Many of us in the computer community are aware of the pipeline shrinkage problem; the pipeline represents the ratio of women involved in computer science from high school to graduate school. In this article, we consider the incredible shrinking pipeline; in addition to the pipeline shrinking from high school to graduate school, the pipeline also shrinks at the bachelor's level. Furthermore, while the percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded in CS to women decreased almost every year over the last decade, the corresponding percentages of other science and engineering disciplines increased. Since the number of women at the bachelor's level affects the number of women at levels higher in the pipeline and in the job market, these facts are of great concern.

In [Camp 1997], we looked at the harsh facts concerning the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women since 1980 and we speculated on what the future holds. We also requested that the community respond to the facts presented through an interactive survey. At this time, 111 unique responses to the survey have been tabulated. In this article, we summarize the facts presented in [Camp97], and we outline the results obtained from compiling the community's response to the incredible shrinking pipeline.





Introduction

The pipeline shrinkage problem concerning women in computer science is a known phenomenon. Although women make up 50% of high school Computer Science (CS) classes[Walker and Rodger 1996], the percentage of bachelor's degrees in CS awarded to women in the 1993-94 academic year was only 28.4%[NCES 1996].2 At  the graduate level, for the academic year 1993-94, the percentages of degrees in CS awarded to women dropped even further: 25.8% at the M.S. level and 15.4% at the Ph.D. level. In addition, for women who become faculty members, the pipeline shrinks through the academic ranks. According to the CRA Taulbee Survey, only 15.6% assistant professors, 9.4% associate professors, and 5.7% full professors were women in CS Ph.D.-granting departments during the academic year 1993-94 [Andrews 1994-97]. We illustrate the pipeline shrinkage problem in Figure 1.

In Figure 2, we illustrate the incredible shrinking pipeline: the percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded in CS to women decreased almost every year over the last decade. In other words, not only does the pipeline shrink from high school to graduate school, but it also shrinks at the bachelor's level. Furthermore, while the percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded in CS to women decreased, corresponding percentages of other science and engineering disciplines increased. Since the number of women at the bachelor's level affects the number of women at levels higher in the pipeline and in the job market, these facts are of great concern.

There are a number of reasons why we need to improve the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women. We direct readers interested in these reasons to [Pearl et al. 1990]. In short, there is a critical labor shortage in CS and, although women are more than half the population, they are a significantly underrepresented percentage of the population earning CS degrees.

In [Camp97], we consider the trend of degrees awarded in CS since 1980, we compare the trend in CS to other science and engineering disciplines, and we request that the community respond to the facts and speculations presented. In this article, we summarize the facts presented in [Camp97], and we outline the results obtained from compiling the community's response to the incredible shrinking pipeline.








Trends in Degrees Awarded: 1980-81 through 1993-94

We have already established that as women progress from high school to graduate school, they will be part of a smaller and smaller proportion of students. In this section, we consider the total number of degrees awarded in CS at each level and we further examine another kind of shrinking in the pipeline. From 1983-84 to 1992-93, the percentage of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS to women consistently decreased. The percentages of M.S. degrees awarded in CS to women were more stable over this period, and the percentages of Ph.D. degrees awarded in CS to women (though still meager) increased.


The National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education classifies Computer Science departments within the Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) category. Figure 3 illustrates the percentage of degrees awarded within different fields of study in CIS for B.A./B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels in 1993-94. As illustrated, the bulk of the degrees awarded are in the general computer science category, with information science and systems a distant second. We, therefore, use the acronym CS is this article to represent all the fields of study in CIS. Table 1 lists the number of B.A/B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees awarded in CS (i.e., CIS) from 1980-81 to 1994-95 and the percentage of recipients that were women.

Although the percentages of Ph.D. degrees awarded in CS to women are very low, the numbers from the four most recent years available suggest the percentages are in an upward trend. However, due to the shrinking of the pipeline at the B.A./B.S. level (discussed below), it is unlikely that this upward trend will continue. From Table 1, we conclude that there is some good news at the Ph.D. level.

Table 1. Degrees awarded in CS: 1980-81 to 1994-95
Academic Year
B.A./B.S. Degrees 
 % Women
M.S. Degrees
% Women 
Ph.D. Degrees 
% Women
1980-81 
15,121
32.5
4,218
23.0
252
9.9
1981-82 
20,267
34.8
4,935
26.5
251
8.4
1982-83 
24,510
36.3
5,321
28.3
262
13.0
1983-84 
32,172
37.1
6,190
29.3
251
10.4
1984-85 
38,878
36.8
7,101
28.7
248
10.1
1985-86
41,889
35.7
8,070
29.9
344
13.1
1986-87
39,589
34.7
8,481
29.4
374
13.9
1987-88
34,523
32.4
9,197
26.9
428
11.2
1988-89
30,454
30.8
9,414
28.0
551
15.4
1989-90
27,257
29.9
9,677
28.1
627
14.8
1990-91
25,083
29.3
9,324
29.6
676
13.6
1991-92
24,557
28.7
9,530
27.8
772
13.3
1992-93
24,241
28.1
10,163
27.1
805
14.4
1993-94
24,200
28.4
10,416
25.8
810
15.4
1994-95
24,404
28.4
10,326
26.1
884
18.2

There is mixed news at the M.S. level as well. During the last 15 years, the number of M.S. degrees awarded in CS has almost consistently increased, but the percentage of M.S. degrees awarded in CS to women in 1993-94 and 1994-95 is at its lowest level since 1980-1981. Due to the shrinking of the pipeline at the B.A./B.S. level (discussed below), it is likely that the percentage of M.S. degrees awarded in CS to women over the next few years will continue to decline.

At the B.A./B.S. level, there is only bad news

The fact that the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS is decreasing at a faster pace for women than men is especially striking when one considers the total population receiving B.A./B.S. degrees, and the percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded to women by disciplines similar to CS.

Table 2. B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in all disciplines: 1980-81 to 1993-94
Academic Year
B.A./B.S. Degrees
% Women
1980-81
1981-82
1982-83
1983-84
1984-85
1985-86
1986-87
1987-88
1988-89
1989-90
1990-91
1991-92
1992-93
1993-94
1994-95
935,140
952,998
969,510
974,309
979,477
987,823
991,264
994,829
1,018,755
1,051,344
1,094,538
1,136,553
1,165,178
1,169,275
1,160,134
49.8
50.3
50.6
50.5
50.7
50.8
51.5
52.0
52.5
53.2
53.9
54.2
54.3
54.5
54.6
 
Table 2 lists the total number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in all disciplines from 1980-81 through 1993-94, and the percentage of the recipients that were women. The number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in all disciplines continues to increase, and the increase is at a faster pace for women than for men.

Figures 4 and 5 compare the trend of degrees awarded in CS with the trends of degrees awarded in disciplines similar to CS from 1980-81 through 1993-94. The majors within a discipline are determined by the National Center for Education Statistics:

Figure 4 illustrates that, while the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in other science and engineering disciplines decreased from 1985-86 to 1993-94, the decrease in CS was the most extreme. From 1985-86 to 1993-94, Eng decreased 18.2% (95,660 to 78,225), Math decreased 16.0% (17,147 to 14,396), and Phy decreased 15.3% (21,717 to 18,400), but CS decreased 42.2% (41,889 to 24,200). Bio/Life increased 33.4% (38,524 to 51,383) during the same period. Figure 5 illustrates that the percentages of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women by science and engineering disciplines (except CS) increased almost every of the last 13 years. CS is the only science and engineering discipline where the percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded to women decreased. From 1980-81 to 1993-94, Bio/Life increased 16.3% (44.1% to 51.3%), Eng increased 44.7% (10.3% to 14.9%), Math increased 10.0% (42.1% to 46.3%), and Phy increased 36.6% (24.6% to 33.6%), but CS decreased 12.6% (32.5% to 28.4%). From 1983-84 to 1993-94, CS decreased 23.5%.

In summary, even though more women are awarded B.A./B.S. degrees, and even though the percentages of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women in disciplines similar to CS increased, the percentage of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS to women decreased.




Questions

In [Camp97], we asked a number of questions concerning the facts presented in the previous section. Why has the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS decreased since 1985? Why is the decrease occurring at a faster pace for women than men? While the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS in 1994-95 is almost equivalent to the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS in 1982-83 (24,404 versus 24,510), why is the percentage of degrees awarded to women dramatically smaller today (28.4% versus 36.3%)? The percentage of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women in all disciplines increased from 1980-81 to 1993-94; the percentages of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women in disciplines similar to CS increased over the same time period. Why has the percentage of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women in CS decreased? Will the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women continue to lag behind in the next decade? And, most importantly, what can we, as a community, do to improve the situation?

To answer some of these questions, we requested that the CS community respond to an interactive survey. At this time, 111 unique responses to the survey have been tabulated. In the following section, we give the results obtained from compiling these 111 responses. We plan to present the results, including strategies proposed for attracting and retaining women in CS, in a future CACM issue.




Survey Responses

As previously mentioned, we obtained 111 unique responses to the survey: 88% (98/111) are female and 64% (71/111) are members of ACM. The following table illustrates the current professional status of the respondents:

Professional Status
Status
Raw Number
Percentage
Employee
36
32.4
Faculty
24
21.6
Student
19
17.1
Research
15
13.5
Consultant
7
6.3
Manager
6
5.4
Other
4
3.6

A high percentage of the respondents are well educated:

Highest Degree Earned
Degree Earned
Raw Number
Percentage
Ph.D. Degree
42
37.8
M.S. Degree
31
27.9
B.A./B.S. Degree
27
24.3
Associate Degree
3
2.7
High School Diploma
8
7.2

The main field that the respondents are educated is, not surprisingly, computer science:

Field of Education
Field
Raw Number
Percentage
Computer Science
84
75.6
Computer Engineering
5
4.5
Information Sciences
5
4.5
Mathematics
5
4.5
Other Science Field
6
5.4
Other Engineering Field
2
1.8
Other
4
3.6

The following table illustrates approximately when each respondent decided to enter the computing field. As shown, a large percentage (51.8%) decided to enter the computing field while in college. Only 18.5% decided to enter the computing field while in high school.

When decide to enter CS
When
Raw Number
Percentage
prior to the 9th grade
2
1.8
in the 9th or 10th grade
6
5.5
in the 11th or 12th grade
14
13.0
as a college freshman
15
13.8
as a college sophomore
12
11.1
as a college junior
16
14.8
as a college senior
13
12.0
during graduate school
9
8.3
after receiving final degree (not formally educated in CS)
5
4.6
when a job was offered (not formally educated in CS)
6
5.6
other
10
9.3

In the previous table, four of the 10 respondents that marked "other" stated that they decided to enter the computing field after college, but before graduate school.

The following table illustrates what most influenced each respondent to enter the computing field. We asked the respondent to mark only the top two or three influences. The percentages illustrate the number of respondents that marked each choice. Since the respondents marked, on average, 2.4 influences, the total of the percentages is greater than 100%.

What influenced you to enter CS
Influence
Raw Number
Percentage
you found the field interesting/fascinating
73
67.6
you realized you were good at CS
55
50.9
numerous job opportunities
41
38.0
you enjoyed your computer course(s)
35
32.4
encouragement from college teacher(s)
18
16.7
encouragement from parent(s)
14
13.0
encouragement from mentor(s)
8
7.4
encouragement from high school teacher(s)
4
3.7
other reason(s)
13
12.0

In the previous table, nine of the 13 respondents that marked "other" stated that they received encouragement from a friend/brother/boyfriend/spouse. Three of the respondents stated that they were discouraged by adults that were important in their lives. For example, one respondent wrote: "My parents discouraged me (I kept my grad studies a secret until near completion of my phd.)"

For each of the following questions from the survey, we gave a list of possible answers. For each answer, we asked the respondent to mark whether he/she:

strongly agrees    respondent is convinced this answer had an impact on the question;
agrees    respondent believes this answer had an impact on the question;
is uncertain    respondent is unsure whether this answer had an impact on the question;
disagrees    respondent does not believe this answer had an impact on the question;
strongly disagrees    respondent is convinced this answer had no impact on the question.

In the survey, we stated that the following answers may or may not be true. In other words, the answers should NOT be interpreted as a fact, but as a possible opinion.


In each of the survey questions, we tried to include multiple answers that are similar (stated in different ways) in order to minimize possible errors in the answers. Questions 3 and 4 in the survey asked similar questions:

Survey Question: 3. While the total number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS in 1993-94 is almost equivalent to the total number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS in 1982-83 (24,200 to 24,510), why is the percentage of degrees awarded to women dramatically smaller in 1992-93 (28.4% vs. 36.3%)?
In other words, what is different in the computing environment today compared to 1982 that had a detrimental effect on the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women?

Survey Question: 4. The percentages of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women in other scientific and engineering disciplines increased from 1980-81 to 1993-94: Biological/ Life Sciences increased from 44.1% to 51.3%, Engineering increased from 10.3% to 14.9%, Mathematics and Statistics increased from 42.1% to 46.3%, and Physical Sciences increased from 24.6% to 33.6%.
Why has the percentage of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded to women in CS decreased from 32.5% to 28.4% over the same period (or from 37.1% to 28.4% over the period of 1983-94 to 1993-94)?
In other words, what is different in the CS area compared to other science and engineering (S/E) fields that had a detrimental effect on the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women?

The following chart gives the results of the survey for the above two questions. We collate the answers into categories for ease of comparison. The average is calculated by giving +2 for a Strongly Agree response, +1 for an Agree response, 0 for an Uncertain response, -1 for a Disagree response, and -2 for a Strongly Disagree response.

Why has CS percentages decreased?
Item
Average
Strongly
Agree
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
Strongly
Disagree
CHANGE IN PERCEIVED CS IMAGE
perception of CS became hacker/nerd/anti-social in the early 80's
0.814
25
54
16
10
3
perception that those in CS work long hours and can't balance work and family
0.527
32
30
14
27
5
public perception change of what computer scientists are like
0.448
13
40
38
14
2
change in public perception of CS, but no change in other S/E fields
0.429
10
47
30
19
1
CS became perceived as a field for males only
0.425
15
44
24
22
3
women realized they do not like computers
-1.110
1
7
13
46
42
CHANGE IN PERCEIVED CS FOCUS
CS became increasingly engineering oriented, thus percentages in CS have started to look more like percentages in engineering
0.242
9
36
38
20
4
CS became increasingly engineering oriented in the 80's
0.074
7
32
36
26
6
CS became perceived as a science
-0.407
5
13
35
43
12
CS became increasingly math oriented in the 80's
-0.472
3
13
30
54
8
PC REVOLUTION EFFECT
PC games in the 80's were mainly developed by and for males, thus males received more computer experience than females
1.027
37
52
8
7
4
violent computer games affected CS, but not other S/E fields
0.452
14
47
22
19
4
more PCs bought for boys affected CS, but not other S/E fields
0.509
15
48
25
17
3
the PC revolution pushed women away
-0.018
9
31
25
33
9
CS became more hands-on in the early 80's
-0.361
3
13
41
44
7
rapid change in CS technology, compared to other S/E fields
-0.120
7
28
24
43
6
women began to fear the rapid technology changes
-0.509
6
15
22
48
17
A GLASS CEILING?
too few women in computing in the 70's became professors
0.638
18
50
23
17
0
too few women from the 70's reached top ranks
0.275
12
38
31
24
4
women realized they could be more successful elsewhere
0.037
10
30
29
30
8
women realized the opportunities for advancement in CS were minimal
-0.462
7
15
20
53
13
GENDER DISCRIMINATION
women in CS faced gender discrimination
0.669
29
38
24
13
5
mentors began encouraging boys to major in CS more than girls
0.666
24
37
35
11
1
CS proved to be inhospitable to women
0.559
24
41
21
18
5
women in CS faced sexual harassment
0.275
14
29
43
19
4
backlash against feminist movement pushed women out of CS
-0.268
4
22
34
37
11

Interesting comments from questions three and four of the survey:

Question 5 (parts I and II) concerns the relationship between the percentage of degrees awarded to women by a CS department, and the college the CS department is within. In our research, we have found that CS departments in engineering colleges graduate, on average, proportionately fewer women than CS departments in non-engineering colleges. (We refer the interested reader to [Camp97] and [Camp98] for statistics illustrating the College of Engineering Effect.)

Survey Question: 5. The percentage of degrees awarded to women by CS departments in engineering colleges is smaller than the corresponding percentages in non-engineering colleges, as shown in the following chart:

Degree Engineering College Non-Engineering College
B.A./B.S. 22.5% 28.3%
M.S. 23.6% 29.2%
Ph.D 11.7% 12.5%


I) Why is there a "College of Engineering effect" (term defined in the CACM paper) for the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women?

II) Why is the "College of Engineering effect" more pronounced at the B.A./ B.S. and M.S. levels and less pronounced at the Ph.D level?

The following chart gives the results of the survey for the above two questions. We collate the answers into categories for ease of comparison.

College of Engineering Effect
Item
Average
Strongly
Agree
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
Strongly
Disagree
CoE PERCEPTION
perception of engineering turns women away
0.740
19
57
20
9
3
more emphasis on hardware in a CS-CoE degree program deters women
0.440
9
50
32
16
2
perception that one needs mechanical talent in CoE
0.379
11
47
25
22
3
perception that engineering is hard
0.240
17
39
14
29
9
CS-CoE perceived as more prestigious than CS-A&S, which deters women
-0.467
6
13
29
43
16
CoE INFLEXIBLE
restrictive course selection in CS-CoE versus CS-A&S
0.648
17
47
35
7
2
lack of flexibility in CoE degree programs deter women
0.564
16
41
40
10
1
Ph.D degree programs are more flexible than B.A./B.S. and M.S. degree programs
0.214
9
37
33
24
4
A GLASS CEILING?
more female role models in CS-A&S versus CS-CoE
0.962
29
49
25
4
0
GENDER DISCRIMINATION
boys encouraged to enroll in CoE; girls encouraged to enroll in A&S
1.018
32
51
16
7
0
engineering colleges are more sexist than other colleges
0.574
21
40
31
12
4
advisors discourage girls from entering engineering college
0.495
15
40
39
14
1
MISCELLANEOUS
women who survive to the Ph.D levels are "tougher" than others
0.747
31
42
13
18
3
college of CS department not important to women applying for Ph.D programs
0.401
17
28
45
15
2
the effect has not yet reached the Ph.D level, but it will
-0.196
4
14
53
29
7

In Question 7 of the survey, we consider what the community should be doing (if anything) to try and increase the percentage of women earning B.A./B.S. degrees. In the table that illustrates the results to the survey question, we collate the answers into categories for ease of comparison.

Survey Question: 7. What can we, as a community, do to improve the situation for women in computing?

How to improve situation?
Item
Average
Strongly
Agree
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
Strongly
Disagree
K-12 CLASSROOM IMPROVEMENTS
ensure equal access to computers for girls in K-12 schools, public and private
1.550
75
27
2
2
3
train teachers to have classrooms that are friendly to both males and females
1.550
68
35
4
2
0
train teachers to adopt cooperative learning practices in the classroom
0.981
37
41
22
7
1
request industry to donate more computers for K-12 schools
0.842
34
40
10
3
1
request the government to purchase more computers for K-12 schools
0.542
22
38
27
16
4
K-12/UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS
establish more CS outreach programs to K-12 schools
1.233
44
49
10
3
1
bring K-12 school girls to university campuses for a day
0.796
27
50
19
6
6
bring K-12 school students (boys and girls) to university campuses for a day
0.613
19
45
28
10
4
MENTORING/ROLE MODELS
make the female role models that exist more visible
1.528
62
39
4
1
0
improve CS mentoring of college females
1.462
68
27
6
2
3
improve CS mentoring of K-12 school females
1.289
57
34
9
4
3
encourage all universities/organizations to organize support groups for women in computing
0.885
34
40
21
5
5
improve CS mentoring of K-12 school students (males and females)
0.657
19
47
25
12
2
improve CS mentoring of college students (males and females)
0.626
20
44
28
13
2
SELF ESTEEM EDUCATION/PROGRAMS
educate K-12 school teachers about the self esteem issues females face
1.185
50
38
13
4
3
educate parents about the self esteem issues females face
1.101
45
39
17
4
3
educate college teachers about the self esteem issues females face
1.064
48
31
20
6
3
develop programs that build the self esteem of females
0.990
39
40
16
6
4
FEMALE ONLY CLASSES
offer girls-only math/science courses in K-12 schools
0.226
23
23
31
13
16
offer women-only math/science courses in college
-0.323
15
11
24
35
20
BRIDGE/REENTRY PROGRAMS
establish reentry programs that enable women to retrain in CS
1.203
40
55
8
5
0
develop bridge programs (i.e., programs to resolve gaps in previous education) for students (males and females) entering college as CS freshmen
0.759
22
51
24
9
2
develop bridge programs for females entering college as CS freshmen
0.635
25
44
21
8
9
TWO BODY/TENURE/DAY CARE
encourage universities to adopt flexible tenure timeclocks for female faculty members with children
1.120
47
38
15
5
3
encourage universities to provide affordable/quality child care
1.110
43
45
14
4
3
encourage universities to adopt flexible tenure timeclocks for male faculty members with children
0.915
33
44
21
6
3
encourage universities to adopt solutions to the two body problem (i.e., woman and spouse)
0.692
24
30
46
2
2
HARDWARE/SOFTWARE IMPROVEMENTS
encourage the development of gender neutral computer games
1.111
45
39
18
3
3
encourage the development of gender neutral software
1.100
47
35
21
3
3
encourage the development of software appealing to females
0.820
29
42
26
5
4
encourage the development of more computer games for females
0.710
28
37
28
11
3
change computer technology in order to appeal to girls and boys equally
0.264
17
25
42
13
9
MISCELLANEOUS
increase participation of qualified women in influential positions (e.g. editorial boards)
1.247
51
36
12
5
1
provide successful professional experiences for women in computing
1.226
47
41
14
3
1
encourage females students to join women in computing networks such as Systers
1.093
39
43
23
0
2
modify curricula to emphasize people skills as well as computer skills
0.842
32
42
21
11
2
encourage gender free language (e.g. chair versus chairman)
0.579
29
34
23
12
9

Interesting comments from question seven of the survey:

Survey Question:
8. From the above list, cite the top five items which you believe we, as a community, should concentrate our immediate efforts in order to improve the situation for women in computing.

The following table gives the top choices that 85 respondents cited. (Many respondents stated, "all are important". Since these respondents did not list top priority items, we do not include them in the results below.) On average, each of the 85 respondent listed 4.5 items that they felt are top priority. In the following table, we list the items that at least 10 of the 85 respondents marked as being top priority. The percentage column is the percentage of the respondents that believe this item is of top priority (i.e., divided by 85).

Priority Items
Item
Raw Score
Percentage
make more visible the female role models that exist
31
36.5
improve CS mentoring of K-12 school females
28
32.9
ensure equal access to computers for girls in K-12 schools, public and private
27
31.8
improve CS mentoring of college females
27
31.8
train teachers to have classrooms that are friendly to both males and females
21
24.7
educate K-12 school teachers about the self esteem issues females face
15
17.6
establish more CS outreach programs to K-12 schools
15
17.6
modify curricula to emphasize people skills as well as computer skills
14
16.5
establish reentry programs that enable women to retrain in CS
13
15.3
provide successful professional experiences for women in computing
13
15.3
increase participation of qualified women in influential positions (e.g. editorial boards)
13
15.3
encourage universities to adopt flexible tenure timeclocks for female faculty members with children
12
14.1
educate college teachers about the self esteem issues females face
11
12.9
encourage universities to provide affordable/quality child care
11
12.9
encourage the development of gender neutral software
11
12.9
offer girls-only math/science courses in K-12 schools
10
11.8

The important of role models is illustrated in the following quote: "During my senior year in high school (1976), we had a career day presentation from a woman who was a system programmer for the Bank of America. In her presentation she told us that programming was a woman friendly technical occupation. The reason for this was that, unlike most other technical occupations, there was never a point in the short history of professional programmers where women were excluded or not represented. After her talk a friend and I decided that we would go to UC Berkeley and major in Computer Science ..."


6. Do you think the percentage of degrees awarded in CS to women will increase decrease, or remain the same in the next decade?

Future Predictions
Change
Raw Score
Percentage
Increase
40
36.4
Decrease
41
37.3
No Change
15
13.6
Unsure
14
12.7

Interesting comments from question six of the survey:




Conclusions

The computer industry is growing rapidly and there is a critical shortage of computer scientists in today's job market (see [Arnheim 1997] for statistics on the shortage today and [Keaton and Hamilton 1996] for statistics on what the future holds). Thus, it is critical that the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS over the next decade increases, instead of continuing on its current decreasing trend.

Fortunately, we should see a dramatic increase, not a further decrease, in the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS in the near future. According to the 1996 CRA Taulbee Survey, the number of B.A./B.S. degrees awarded in CS should increase in the near future, as the number of new bachelor students enrolled in computer science Ph.D.-granting departments increased 40% in fall 1996 and an additional 40% in fall 1997 [Andrews 1994-98]. In [Camp97], we speculate on how this increase in the number of degrees awarded will affect the percentage of women recipients. In short, we believe that the proportion of women earning B.A./B.S. degrees in CS will increase slightly in the next decade, but will continue to lag far behind their male colleagues.

In this article, we summarize the facts presented in [Camp97], and we outline the results obtained from compiling the community's response to the incredible shrinking pipeline. At this time, 111 unique responses to the survey have been tabulated.




Acknowledgments

This work was supported in part by NSF Grant NCR-9702449.




References

ANDREWS, G. 1994-97.  CRA Taulbee surveys. Computing Research News 6-9, 2 (March).
ARNHEIM, L. 1997.  IT companies heavily courting CS grads. Computing Research News 9, 3 (May), 1-7.
CAMP, T. 1997.   The incredible shrinking pipeline. Communications of the ACM, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 103-110, Oct, 1997.
CAMP, T. 1998.   CS programs in engineering colleges = fewer females. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 15-25, January 1998.
KEATON, J. AND HAMILTON, S. 1996.   Employment 2005: Boom or bust for computer professionals? IEEE Computer 29, 5, 87-98.
NCES. 1996.   Digest of Education Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
PEARL, A., POLLACK, M., RISKIN, E., THOMAS, B., WOLF, E., AND Wu, A. 1990.  Becoming a computer scientist. Communications of the ACM 33, II (November), 47-57.
WALKER, E. AND RODGER, S. 1996.  PipeLINK: Connecting women and girls in the computer science pipeline. In Proceedings of the National Education Computing Conference (1996), pp. 378-384.

1 Tracy Camp is a member of the ACM Committee on Women in Computing (ACM-W). The mission of ACM-W is to engage in activities that aim to improve computing environments in order to gain equity for women in computing.

2 The number of degrees awarded for the academic years 1994-95 have recently been made available from the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education; these numbers have been incorporated into the tables, but not the figures, in this article.



Tracy Camp received her Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary and is currently an associate professor at The Colorado School of Mines. Her principal research interests are mobile computing and networking.
Address: Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, The Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401,  email: tcamp AT mines DOT edu