As at many American universities, Stanford's computer science (CS) department is dominated by men. But the university--and its students--are taking steps to change that.
In 2009, Stanford revamped its undergraduate computer science program, adding more multi-disciplinary tracks to appeal to female students. Since then, the number of women majoring in CS has increased 9.5 percent.
In addition, a number of Stanford students have organized groups designed to encourage women to consider computer science as a career. “I think people are really starting to break that down and say, ‘I can be a sorority girl and a CS major. I can be an athlete and a CS major,’” said Stanford student Bonnie McLindon. “The idea of ‘you have to fit a certain mold’ is evaporating.”
Attracting more women to CS could have larger implications for the tech industry as a whole. “Getting more girls involved in CS is probably the most impactful thing we can do to address the talent shortage,” asserted Sequoia Capital’s Jim Goetz.