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Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Understanding and overcoming the gender gap in computer science education.

The information technology revolution is transforming almost every aspect of society, but girls and women are largely out of the loop. Although women surf the Web in equal numbers to men and make a majority of online purchases, few are involved in the design and creation of new technology. It is most
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Paperback, 184 pages
Published February 28th 2003 by Mit Press (first published 2001)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  241 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Mike
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
First thing that strikes me is the age of the research - all conducted in the late 90's. Has anything significantly changed in the intervening 15 years? Part of me hopes to discount a fraction of this, knowing that many of these trends and influences persist; the cynic in me worries that *nothing* has changed, and in fact may have gotten worse with the brogrammer culture we hear so much about in Silicon Valley and similar high-tech concentrations.

Second thing is how narrow the study population w
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Arianna
Nov 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
While of course already dated in terms of technology, this book speaks SO MUCH to my experience as a woman in computer science. I keep finding myself shouting "Yes! That's exactly what it's like!" The authors really get to the heart of this issue. I was lucky enough to have a computer at home at a very young age and then go to a relatively small, liberal arts college, which meant I didn't have to deal QUITE so much with the competitive edge that the Carnegie Mellon students describe, but it was ...more
Laura Stone
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was incredibly vindicating. It voiced all of the complaints I never knew how to articulate, assuaged doubts about my intelligence and ability to persevere, and was just generally what I needed to hear and read.

I'm not sure it will be compelling enough for someone who thinks they see things "objectively" to change their minds, but sometimes nothing is enough. I thought this book did an excellent job of concisely combining qualitative and quantitative data from the authors' longitudinal
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Sumit
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book; a must read for anyone who cares about getting more young women to choose Computer Science as a field of study and a profession, from grade school through grad school.
Davie
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
I'm not remotely a computer scientist but I was able to recognize the experiences in the book by translating them to the form: "what happens when there is an individual or group who does not feel that they fit in or are valued in a particular culture?"

The culture discussed in the book in the boy wonder / male hacker culture prevalent in computer science. Some of the more explicit forms of exclusivity and bullying from both students and teachers who feel themselves to be members of the group towa
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Erika RS
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, physical
I found this to be simultaneously a very important book and a rather dull book. I would have found the book fascinating 5 years ago. But now I have spent a summer at CMU interacting with their women@scs group; I have seen Jane Margolis speak twice (once with Allan Fisher); I have seen many other wonderful speakers talk about women in computing; I have given miniature versions of such talks myself. The material in this book has become such a part of my life, such a part of how I relate to my fiel ...more
Coral
I owe this book a real review, but for now, let's leave it at this: everyone working in programming and computer science should probably read this.

While the discussion of the attributes of women in technology is [necessarily] rather broad (and made me feel a little bit antisocial, in comparison), the characterization of our experiences is accurate. In my mind the description of the crippling doubt that women face, even when we are successful, is the crux of the book.

If this research had been d
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Masha Kuznetsova
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a girl in tech, reading this book helped me realize how hungry I was for something like that. I found the reflection of my own, long denied and well hidden emotions, and it helped me understand why I was against even talking about the problem of girls in tech. I was simply scared of digging out that pile of stinky skeletons!
The interviews with a multitude of different Carnegie Mellon female students of the CS program made me feel at home, helped me maybe not to gain confidence, but to lessen
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Jeremy
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
There's a stereotype of a hacker, someone who has been coding since childhood and spends their spare time working on computers. It's often easy to identify great programmers who fit this mold. And I identify with it myself, at least to some extent. This book made clear to me how narrow that stereotype is. There could be many ways to be successful in computing if we don't focus too much on that stereotype as the norm.
Caroline
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
By the time they reach college, girls probably avoid identifying as "myopically obsessive" geeks because they can't even imagine themselves as geeks or understand how a girl geek is even supposed to act or look. Nevermind the fact that neglecting to make love to C++ costs them precious, precious money and prestige in their careers.
Frederic
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Diary of a toxic culture
Lindsey Maddox
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is from 95-99, but mostly still relevant. Weird that I found myself relating more to avoidance of negative stereotypes than thinking incorporation of more diverse applications would make me feel more welcome. But I am admittedly weird...

Am also present firmly in the nurture side of the debate and they didn't commit to one side.

But, overall thought provoking and resonant for me
Kathryn Ehlmann
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well researched and insightful book on why we face a gender gap in the technology workforce.
Nick Greenquist
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
read this book for a book club at work. At first I didn't agree with a lot of the points. My biggest issue was the looking down upon the obsessive behaviour of male students in the field of computing (the idea of living and breathing all things coding) and also the shaming of hyper competetiveness. I still believe these traits are essential to be elite in any field (music, ahtletics, etc). However, after discussing the book with other engineers at work (specifically female ones), they explained ...more
S K
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
The question of why there are so few women involved in computing-related fields inspires much discussion, most of it heavy on anecdotes and speculation. I found this book in my search for studies that had approached the issue with more rigor. The core research underlying "Unlocking the Clubhouse" is a longitudinal study conducted with undergraduate students at the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science in the mid-to-late 1990s, with additional investigation into girls' experiences with compu ...more
Shiri
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shiri by: Renee Fall
This in-depth look at Women in Computing and what we can do to encourage their participation was simultaneously revealing, uplifting and discouraging. Based on research done at CMU, CS professionals everywhere can learn from it. Discussing what makes the computing environment (specifically, within high schools and undergrad institutions) inhospitable to women, it should be required reading for any CS educator and manager. Interestingly enough for me, I resonated strongly with some of the issues ...more
Vhalros
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Computer Science Teachers, Women interested in CS
This book is about a study conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science. The focus of the study was to determine why many women choose to leave the computer science program, and hope that these results generalize and determine why there are so few women in computer science (or, as I like to think of it, "Why am I surrounded by dudes?").

Although much of the data they use is based on interviews, the authors make a reasonable effort to avoid anecdotalism. Although not en
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William Anderson
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening.
This book should be a pre-requisite to all books that talk about what it means to be a programmer. Our industry is plagued with reading material which reinforces narrowly focused and masculine ideals for the industry, and it's all too prevalent in any environment for someone who codes to be expected to live and breathe nothing but that.

We need a broader and deeper view of what is going on in the world and how to write and contribute to applications that affect change.

This book speaks
...more
Robert
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book about how Carnegie Mellon increased the fraction of women majoring in computer science--and kept retention rates high. A good long term project; it seemed they worked around the tenured and tenure-track faculty.

One problem is that they assumed that women had one distribution of attributes, computer science at first demanded another set--and the idea was that they moved both distributions until they got higher overlap between the two distributions. (This is not quite true--they moved th
...more
Sepideh
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
For much of my education and early career, I thought that gender differences didn't affect me or people in my career. I changed my mind when I saw less competent but more confident people becoming more successful in my chosen field. Reading this book made me realize that some of my difficulties were gender related and that if I can tackle those, I can become more technically proficient and more successful in my career path.
Katy Dickinson
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have ever read on how to improve the participation and acceptance of women in computer science. Drs. Fisher and Margolis significantly improved the percentage of undergraduate women at Carnegie Mellon University and wrote this book to say how they did it. I have bought at least five copies to give away with my strongest recommendation.
Sha
Oct 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Buku ini menceritakan bagaimana kisah para wanita-wanita tangguh yang berkiprah di bidang ilmu komputer. Bersetting di school of computer science, CMU, mewawancarai mahasiswa perempuan dan laki-laki mengenai pengalaman mereka. Sangat menarik melihat fenomena srikandi-srikandi di dunia komputer ini dalam menghadapi tantangan di dunia yang sangat male-dominated
Geoff
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Offered some really great insight into how gender mediates access to technology. Moreover it cited some really great research about how gender mediates education in general. The book seemed a little light on solutions, however.
Dana M
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A great review of what it is like to be a woman in computing.
Laurie
This book was quite interesting, but I only got a little way into it before it had to be returned to the library. I will try to get back to it at some point.
Ariane Schang
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist-books
Wow wow wow!! So good. Chapter 4 spoke volumes to me.
Jocelyn
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read. It was written 15 years ago (so of course is horribly outdated) but I'd say it's a must-read for anyone who cares, or doesn't care, about gender in computing.
Dave
Mar 10, 2014 added it


nathan read it.
Nargess
Feb 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book reports on a study done at Carnegie Mellon University regarding factors contributing to low percentage of women in computer science programs.
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