Breaking the masculine mystique

NCWIT seeks balance in computer science

We are excited to highlight the work of an innovative Boulder-based nonprofit: The National Center for Women & Information Technology.

NCWIT works to make computer science careers more inviting and accessible to women and girls.

It has its work cut out. In the past two decades, the percentage of undergraduate women who received computer science degrees decreased by almost 40 percent, according to the National Science Foundation.

For many, this is a counterintuitive revelation. It’s true that participation by women, minorities and people with disabilities in fields like biology and chemistry has steadily increased over the past couple of decades. But over the same period their participation in computer science has precipitously decreased.

That’s a big problem. NCWIT points out that computer science underpins every aspect of our daily lives; it follows that the field’s demographics should line up with society’s.

For this and many other reasons, NCWIT was born in 2004. The organization comprises a mind-boggling consortium of change makers, including more than 600 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide, all working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology.

NCWIT’s work is international in scope, with local impacts of note. We’ll highlight its work here in the coming weeks.