Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

New Alliance Launches Drive for More Women in IT: Girls Are Scarce in Computer Science Classes, but a New Coalition Hopes to Reverse That Trend

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

New Alliance Launches Drive for More Women in IT: Girls Are Scarce in Computer Science Classes, but a New Coalition Hopes to Reverse That Trend

Article excerpt

MORE THAN 1 MILLION computer-related jobs are going to be created by the year 2014, according to the US Department of Labor (www.dol.gov). But data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (www.ncwit.org) shows an 80 percent decline in the number of female first-year college students who chose to major in computer science between 1996 and 2004.

Members of the newly forged K-12 Alliance (www.ncwit.org/who.all.k12.html) are concerned about that sharp slide. Having debuted at the National Educational Computing Conference in June, the coalition of 19 organizations is committed to advancing the quality of computer training in K-12 classrooms, and raising awareness of the correlation between computer literacy and career success. To reach girls in particular, the group will share the stories of women in the IT field with students. Also, the alliance will strive to identify and remove the obstacles that have led to the discouraging labor statistics, which show that women make up only 26 percent of IT workers in the country today.

"In the next seven years, women will account for more than half of the nation's workforce," says NCWIT co-founder Lucy Sanders. "Women can, and must, play a more significant role in building an innovative and technically trained workforce. If US companies wish to maintain their competitive advantage in IT-related fields, they cannot afford to miss out on the input of half the population. …

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