The State of Girls in Computer Science Classrooms

Computing jobs are among the fastest-growing in the U.S. economy. These jobs pay more than double the average U.S. salary. And in the coming years, they will be key drivers of national economic growth and mobility.

Policymakers across the country have passed legislation to increase access to computer science (CS) education at the K-12 level, with 33 states passing such legislation in just five short years.

This report is the first-ever evaluation of whether policies that increase access to CS at the K-12 level actually change the gender makeup of American classrooms. Our report found that only 30 states track participation by gender in their computer science classrooms, and in those states, girls make up only 37% of students. Our policy agenda calls for a gender-specific approach to computer science policies. Tracking participation by girls and other underrepresented groups is the first step that states must take to ensure equity. What gets measured gets managed – creating effective public policies means we must be able to measure their success.

Cracking The Gender Code

The share of women in the U.S. computing workforce will decline from 24 percent to 22 percent by 2025, according to research from Accenture and Girls Who Code. But interventions to encourage girls to pursue a computer science education could triple the number of women in computing to 3.9 million, growing their share of technology jobs from 24 percent today to 39 percent in the same timeframe.

Cracking the Gender Code measures how the factors influencing girls’ pursuit of computer sciences change at each stage of their education and recommends a more tailored and sequenced series of actions starting in junior high school and sustained through high school and college. These actions could not only increase the pipeline of women to 3.9 million by 2025 but also boost women’s cumulative earnings by $299 billion.