Friday, December 19, 2008

Women in Computer Science Worldwide

Updated 12/24/08: I've updated the map to reflect the anecdotal and cited information from the comments. Also, I changed the coloring scheme to be one from ColorBrewer, so hopefully the distinctions are clearer. Thanks all!

Percentage of Computer Science Undergraduates that are Women
Dark blue: < 15% Medium blue: 15% to 30% Light blue: 30% to 45% Purple: 45% to 55%

D. Eppstein pointed out, as a comment to the previous post on sex vs. gender, that the percentage of women in computer science varies greatly by country, and that "any argument that the correlation between gender and CS skill is sex-based would have to take account of that." I've heard lots of anecdotal evidence that this is true, but was curious about the numbers. The most comprehensive resource I could find was a summary of women in computer science by country from the Anita Borg Institute. Sadly, it was rather brief and didn't have the same information about each country (understandably). I took the information from that file to make the map above based on the percentage of women undergraduates in computer science (or math/computer science, or whatever the file had info on). I'm sure that information exists for many more countries than I've labelled, and I'd love to know what it is. If you know, please leave a comment with your source and I'll add it to the map.


Arvind Narayanan said...

I went to undergrad in India; there's no way it's < 15% there. My best guess would be 30-40%. Perhaps you're looking at numbers for the IITs, which are a very, very special case. The percentage of students in IITs is so small as to be statistically irrelevant.

sorelle said...

Huh. I am indeed looking at IIT stats - I didn't realize it was so different from the average. Do you know of anywhere I can find more accurate statistics for India?

Jaymie Strecker said...

I collected some information on this for a recent talk. Here are some tidbits:

Malaysia: females outnumber males in CS/IT (Article by Othman and Latih)

Kabul University in Afghanistan: approx 33% of computer science is
women and approx 25% of the university students are women (personal communication with J. Plane)

Working paper on international women in CS by Margolis, Fisher, and Miller

These probably don't help much with your map, but the first and last sources talk about why the numbers are different for different countries.

Jaymie Strecker said...

Nice map, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble seeing the difference between dark blue and medium blue (unless there are no medium blue countries...). Any chance you could pick a color scheme with more contrast? Thanks.

Josh said...

The Bulgaria 73% for math/CS from the Anita Borg report should be taken with a grain of salt. First, it notes that this number hasn't changed since 1975, backing up anecdotal evidence that this number is mostly due to female mathematics graduates. Second, the European Commission Report on Women in ICT indicates (top of p. 29) that the number of female graduates in CS in Bulgaria should be 48%.

Jaymie's stat about Malaysia (and also the report on women in "ICT" cited above) raises an interesting question: when talking about the gender gap in CS, should we count IT as part of CS? I would believe there are countries where IT is, say, > 40% women but the rest of CS is < 15% women, but I don't have any concrete examples to point to.

Lastly, if you have access, you might want to check out this article

Nice map though. If only we could get better and more comprehensive data...

Anonymous said...

Mexico is at 37%, as per 2003 figures.