Did You Know?

Newspaper

Sweden and Gender Equity: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Did you know that Sweden not only sits atop the World Economic Forum's global information technology and competitiveness rankings, it's also ranked as one of the most gender-egalitarian countries in the world? Sweden has been in the spotlight for a number of initiatives aimed at equalizing the genders: 60 days of its standard 480-day parental leave are designated for dads, women have high representation in the workforce, and Swedish schools are careful to promote a gender-equal perspective and avoid traditional presentations of gender roles.

Recently, however, a gender-neutral pronoun, "hen" -- a composite of he ["han" in Swedish] and she ["hon"] -- was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia, and many feel that the efforts to eradicate gender stereotypes have gone too far by trying to diminish the differences between genders. What do you think?

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Computing Popular Again with College Students

Did you know that computer science enrollments are up by 10% - again? Following a 10% rise last year and marking the fourth straight year of increase, the CRA Taulbee Survey of CRA member institutions recently reported that undergraduate enrollments of computer science majors are up again, to an average of 300 students per department (compare this to a high of 400 before the dot-com bubble and a low of 200 in 2006-2007). CRA's Peter Harsha speculates that enrollment numbers might have been even higher were some schools not limited by enrollment caps. The percent of women among bachelor’s graduates decreased in CS this year over the previous year, from 13.8% to 11.7%, but the percentages of women were up slightly in computer engineering and information. 

This is where we compliment NCWIT members: Academic Alliance members who are also CRA members have outperformed CRA members in percentage of women in CS since 2007; and while Academic Alliance members only make up about one-third of CRA members, they graduated about half of the degrees awarded to women by all CRA members. Nice work!

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Women Scarce in the Tech Workforce ... But Not Online?

Did you know that women comprise 55% of online freelance workers? Consulting firm Zinnov looked at the entire online hiring market and found that not only are women doing well with online work, they’re currently the majority of the online workforce. Of the nearly 5 million folks selling their services through these sites, 55 percent are women. Zinnov also reports that the online talent marketplace is growing rapidly, with online hiring most mature in the tech sector, and it estimates that in three years, 15% of the total workforce will be hired online. Some speculate that the work/life flexibility associated with virtual employment is more appealing to women, though women and men report valuing workplace flexibility in equal numbers. Does your company hire freelance talent through an online marketplace? Does it offer virtual work options to increase work/life flexibility?

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April Awareness

Did you know that April is Mathematics Awareness Month (MAM)? Sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics and recognized annually since 1986, Math Awareness Month is designed to increase public understanding of and appreciation for math. A wide range of educators, students, companies, and interest groups celebrate MAM with workshops, competitions, exhibits, festivals, lectures, and symposia. We were interested to see that MAM has a different theme every year; this year it's "Mathematics, Statistics, and the Data Deluge." Do you celebrate MAM? Do you think Computer Science Education Week would benefit from having a theme?

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Dissecting the Startup Ecosystem

Did you know about the Startup Genome Project? It attempts to take a comprehensive, data-driven look at what makes tech startups successful, and the results might surprise you. For example, it's become clear that thriving startup ecosystems exist outside of Silicon Valley. But did you know that London-based founders are more likely to have a master's degree, that Silicon Valley companies are 45% more likely to pivot, and that NYC startups have twice the number of women founders? 

Check out TechCrunch's article for more interesting facts, like the fact that Chicago is ranked #15 on the list of top startup ecosystems. We hope you'll join us in Chicago for the NCWIT Summit next month to learn tips and strategies for capitalizing on women within your company.

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT's radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.