Changing the Curve: Women in Computing


Jennifer Dutcher

Date Published:
November 24, 2017

What do the first computer programmer, the patent holder for spread spectrum wireless communications, and the author of the first assembly language have in common? All were women, as are 34 percent of today’s web developers and 23 percent of programmers.

Note: This article by Jennifer Dutcher is published with permission from UC Berkeley’s School of Information.

Women have a long and storied involvement dating back to the first days of computer science, but there’s still a great deal of room for improvement. In high school, less than 20 percent of AP computer science test takers are female, and that number holds steady at 18 percent for the number of computer and information sciences undergraduate degree recipients. Even at a workplace level, only 18 percent of CIO positions at Fortune 250 companies are held by women. There’s good news, though: The gender pay gap for computer programmers is smaller than it is for other professional occupations, and startups led by women are more capital-efficient than the norm.

In this infographicdatascience@berkeley explores the history and influence of women in computing, looking at some big names throughout the ages and then reviewing some sobering statistics about the current state of women in technology. Feel free to share, since as Karen Sparck Jones once said, “Computing is too important to be left to men.”

This article originally appeared at on the UC Berkley web site. Learn more about the UC Berkley Data Science program.