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'Pipeline' to Programming Jobs Has Leaks

From ACM TechNews:
'Pipeline' to Programming Jobs Has Leaks
New York Times
(04/02/12) Katie Hafner

The effort to propel women into programming jobs is losing women at a discouraging rate as the pipeline winds its way from high school through graduate studies. Even women with computer science degrees might not obtain programming jobs, and those familiar with the hiring process say recruiting is part of the problem. Some companies hold 24-hour hackathons, which reinforce the geeky, high-testosterone stereotype of the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 19 percent of software developers are women, but the percentage is in the single digits at many prominent tech firms. The bias in the system affects women's willingness to go into these situations because they know what they are in for, says New York University psychologist Madeline Heilman. Still, there are signs of hope in the corporate world, such as IBM, an industry leader, winning the 2011 Top Company for Technical Women award. The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology started the competition two years ago, and American Express will receive the 2012 award. IBM's Sharon Nunes says women want to use their skills to make a difference, and also want to maintain a work-life balance. Women comprise about 20 percent of IBM's technical workforce.

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