A recent study found that the gender gap in computing is getting worse–a fact that may have severe implications for the U.S. economy.
The joint study by Accenture and Girls Who Code, titled Cracking the Gender Code, suggested a marked decline of women in computing jobs in the coming years.
According to the study, women make up only 18 percent of current computer-science majors. This figure was much higher, 37 percent, back in 1984. Additionally, females currently make up just one in five Advanced Placement (AP) computer science exam takers.
“It is widely acknowledged that to have the greatest impact, efforts to attract women into computing
must start at the earliest stages of a girl’s educational life – at junior high level or even earlier.” — Cracking the Gender Code
The earlier the educational start, the better
Right now, approximately 24 percent of the computing workforces is female. But could spike sharply. According to the study, this figure could jump to 39 percent with a new approach.
An important part of the proposed approach to gaining more women in the computing workforce is starting early in the education cycle. In fact, 69 percent of that projected growth would come from starting to focus in junior high school.
— Accenture (@Accenture) October 20, 2016
3.9 million by 2025
The plan laid out in the study would increase the number of women working in the field significantly. In the U.S., the number of women working in computing would theoretically rise to 3.9 million by 2025.
This would represent a near tripling of the female portion of the workforce. And, the increase would generate up to $299 billion in additional cumulative earnings.