FIGURE E-6-1. Women’s Share of Computing Degrees
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Education Database.
To put computing into context, one must recognize that women’s participation in higher education also varied from country to country. In many nations, women were quite well-represented, often exceeding men’s level of participation in higher education. In countries such as Korea and Turkey, however, there were only 65 to 75 women for every 100 men earning a college degree (39 percent to 43 percent). Likewise in India, which was not included among the OECD countries listed, women were underrepresented at a comparable percent. They comprised 41 percent of the 2007 total enrollment in Indian higher education.8 In contrast, countries such as Brazil, Spain, and the United States reported overrepresentation of women in their higher education institutions. In Spain, women were 55 percent of undergraduates; in Brazil they were 56 percent; and in the U.S., they were 58 percent. 9
This country-level contextual information is crucial if we wish to avoid confounding gender balance in tertiary computing programs with issues of women’s access to higher education. To account for in-country educational conditions, we averaged women’s share of degrees for all disciplines in a country and calculated the standard deviation from that average