Why there aren't more women in IT

Of all the college graduates with degrees in computer science in 2008, just 18 percent were women, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. If this statistic sounds too small at first glance, it may be because in 1985, 37 percent of the computer science graduates were women.

The conventional reasons for the small percentage of women computer scientists--lack of role models, lack of encouragement from teachers and parents, and the matter of child-bearing--are true, but they don't offer a full explanation, in the view of Vinita Gupta, founder and CEO of Digital Link. Gupta takes a deeper look at these tricky issues in a column at BloombergBusinessWeek.

"Women entrepreneurs confront an incredibly tricky road at technology companies. They face all the uncertainties a man faces in starting a tech company-and more," Gupta writes.

Among the thorny issue is the way in which girls are encouraged--or not encouraged--to develop the confidence and critical thinking necessary for math and science. Parents have had a tendency not to encourage these skills in girls because they have a hard time validating viewpoints in their daughters that are different from their own, in Gupta's view. "The foundation of technological entrepreneurship happens to be 'outside the box' thinking," she writes.

For more:
- see Vinita Gupta's column at BloombergBusinessWeek

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