Stanford Aims to Interest More Women in Computer Science

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.

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