Poll: Men seen as more interested, successful in computer science

Poll: Men seen as more interested, successful in computer science
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Students and parents are more likely to think of men as having more interest and probability of success in computer science than their female counterparts, according to a Gallup survey released Tuesday.

The poll, commissioned by Google, found that 75 percent of male students and 72 percent of female students believe boys are more interested in learning computer science.

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Similarly, 68 percent of white parents and 66 percent of black parents said boys are more interested in learning computer science. Forty-nine percent of Hispanic parents said the same.

Google blamed this gap partly on stereotypes in the media. Students and parents said it is less likely that they would see an underrepresented minority or woman in a computer science roll in film and TV.

“The widespread support for computer science learning from all stakeholder groups is encouraging,” Google wrote in an analysis accompanying the poll. “However, inequitable access to learning opportunities and ingrained stereotypes may hinder some students from participating, particularly females and underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities.”

The results come as some lawmakers believe computer science should be a required course in high school as technology becomes more dominant in the workforce. 

While answers to which gender would be more likely to succeed in the field were not as stark, students and parents still said boys are more likely to be successful. The only demographic who believed girls would be more successful than boys in the field were Hispanic parents. 

The poll found male students are generally more confident in their ability to learn computer science and expressed a greater likelihood of one day ending up in the field. 

Forty-two percent of male students said it was “very likely” they would one day end up in a job that required the skill, another 47 percent said it was “somewhat likely.”

That is compared to 33 percent of female students who said it was “very likely” and 57 percent who said it was “somewhat likely.”

The poll surveyed 1,673 students in grades 7-12. It also surveyed 1,013 parents of students. The survey was conducted nearly a year ago, through November and December of 2014.