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The Brogrammer Effect: Women Are a Small (and Shrinking) Share of Computer Workers

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Lily Tomlin in "The Incredible Shrinking Woman."

The percentage of women who are computer workers in the United States has been shrinking for two decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Women account for 26 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, but the figure among computer workers has been dropping over the past 20 years, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

Although women represented one-third of computer workers in 1990, they currently hold just 27 percent of jobs in this field. The gender disparity varies by computer specialty, with women representing 40.1 percent of database administrators and 37 percent of Web developers, but only 22.1 percent of software developers and 11.4 percent of computer network architects. The number of women as a percent of all computer science undergraduates reached its highest point in the 1980s, with women in the computer workforce peaking shortly thereafter.

Women's low participation in the STEM workforce is partly responsible for the pay gap between the sexes, since STEM jobs generally have higher salaries. Moreover, because computer fields make up half of all STEM positions, according to the Census Bureau, the declining rate of women is particularly troubling.

From The Atlantic
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