Women and Information Technology

Women and Information Technology

Research on Underrepresentation

Edited by Joanne Cohoon and William Aspray





Computing remains a heavily male-dominated field even after twenty-five years of extensive efforts to promote female participation. The contributors to Women and Information Technology look at reasons for the persistent gender imbalance in computing and explore some strategies intended to reverse the downward trend. The studies included are rigorous social science investigations; they rely on empirical evidence—not rhetoric, hunches, folk wisdom, or off-the-cuff speculation about supposed innate differences between men and women. Taking advantage of the recent surge in research in this area, the editors present the latest findings of both qualitative and quantitative studies. Each section begins with an overview of the literature on current research in the field, followed by individual studies. The first section investigates the relationship between gender and information technology among preteens and adolescents, with each study considering what could lead girls' interest in computing to diverge from boys'; the second section, on higher education, includes a nationwide study of computing programs and a cross-national comparison of computing education; the final section, on pathways into the IT workforce, considers both traditional and nontraditional paths to computing careers.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262033459 520 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 35 illus.


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262533072 520 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 35 illus.


Joanne Cohoon

William Aspray

William Aspray is Bill and Lewis Suit Professor of Information Technologies in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the coeditor of Women and Information Technology: Research on Underrepresentation (2006) and The Internet and American Business (2008), both published by the MIT Press.


  • This work provides valuable insight into why women are not choosing to pursue education and careers in information technology.



  • A very interesting and insightful book whose survey of contemporary studies makes it essential for anyone interested in understanding the issues affecting gender imbalance in information technology.

    Maria Klawe

    Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University

  • This is an important book that deals with a highly relevant topic: why women are dramatically underrepresented in computer science and what can be done to rectify the situation. The thorough research presented here reinforces the idea that no nation can afford to exclude part of its human capital from important areas of technology.

    Barbara Simons

    former President, Association for Computing Machinery

  • This comprehensive collection assembles an exhaustive amount of research on the lack of women in information technology, making it a welcome reference for this important area.

    Wendy Hall

    CBE, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton

  • Women can and must help develop the technology upon which we increasingly depend. We need to act, using the best research available, and this book provides the roadmap for action.

    Lucy Sanders

    CEO, National Center for Women and Information Technology

  • This book is an important resource for understanding the issues involved in increasing the presence of women in IT. Only by so informing the conversation will we have a chance to make fundamental changes to the culture and practice of IT.

    Telle Whitney

    President, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

  • This book is a must-read for anyone trying to understand and affect the participation of women in computing. Many of us have been confused by the picture of loss of ground by women in computer science even as women have increased their presence in other fields in other STEM fields. Perhaps the emerging trend of declines in engineering can be informed by the scholarship in this volume.

    Shirley M. Malcom

    Director, Education and Human Resources, American Association for the Advancement of Science