Are women really ready for computational thinking?

Do biological differences make women in a disadvantageous position for computing? The research says No.

If that is the case, why is the Information Technology (IT) industry still men dominated? Before analyzing that, what is computational thinking by the way?

1. Computational Thinking Means Logical Thinking

Logical thinking includes making inferences from the existing knowledge. If there was rain, the grass would likely be wet. From past experience, a cloudy day is a rainy day. So if you see cloudy sky, you should take your umbrella. If you see that the grass is wet, it was probably raining or someone might have turned on the sprinkler. This kind of thinking is something women can do!

2. Computational Thinking Means Divide and Conquer

Breaking huge computational problems down to smaller parts. This is something even children can do. For example, you break bread before enjoying it.

3. Computational Thinking Means Evaluation

You want to see how good something is. Which of the two methods can sort names the fastest? You want to compare products and chose the best one you like. Women have been doing this all the time!

4. Computational Thinking Means Pattern Recognition

How to recognize patterns in computational data. Women are usually pretty good following fashion trends. They know very well when something looks weird or colors don't coordinate well. Women typically score very high in this department.

5. Computational Thinking Means Generalization

Newton found apples falling down instead of going up. He also found that other objects do the same thing. So he generalized the idea into the theory of gravity. There is no reason to think that women cannot generalize.

6. Computational Thinking Means Abstraction

Abstraction means cutting down unnecessary details. Say your team is going on a business trip. Your team members' attire has nothing to do with the airfare. So for cost calculation, this can be left out. You can focus on the key aspects ignoring all other unnecessary details. Abstraction is something women can do with little practice.

7. Computational Thinking Means Algorithmic Thinking

Algorithmic thinking involves developing unambiguous instructions for doing something. Who doesn't think women are not good at giving instructions?

So Where Exactly is the Problem?

Women can do all of the above. No noticeable difference in IQ between men and women (although women may be perhaps be a little smarter). So the answer: most women just don't have the interest in learning computer science -- not that they can't learn.

Everyone should understand inherent differences between men and women: In general, men think more logically and women think more emotionally. That means men try to get into the core of things to solve problems. Women consider being direct may be insensitive; whereas, men think being indirect is manipulative.

If we can present computer science problems in the way women would find interesting and have an emotional connection with, there is a higher chance of keeping them interested. Women will be more inclined to be involved, if computing has a greater purpose in their own realm. Also, women like to talk through solving problems with their team. And in the workplace, show respect and start to value women equally. Please keep them interested.

In the next decade we need a lot more people capable of computational thinking. No way, we can do this without women!

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