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Empowering Women Through Technology

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March 2018

Tips & Tricks: 6 new uses for your old iPad

Getting a new tablet? Before you sell the old one, consider putting to use in other ways.

 

 

By Rick Broida of CNet

If the arrival of Apple’s latest iPad is tempting you to upgrade, you might be debating the fate of your old iPad.

Two options: keep or sell. The latter can net you some funds to help defray the cost of the new tablet; here are some tips on selling used iPads for maximum profit.

But there are plenty of reasons to keep that old iPad around. The most obvious, at least for parents: Fill it up with educational games, e-books and the like, and give it to the kids.

You can also devote an old iPad to a specific task or set of tasks. Let’s take a look at some practical ways to wring more life from that aging tablet.

1. Full-time photo frame

The digital photo frames of yesteryear were small, low-resolution and a pain in the neck. But your iPad can deliver the ultimate photo-frame experience, revolving through hundreds or even thousands of photos in a never-ending slideshow.

Unfortunately, Apple removed the iOS Picture Frame mode years ago, which was designed expressly for this purpose. But you can accomplish more or less the same thing by setting up a dedicated iCloud photo album, then tweaking your iPad’s settings so it continues to display a slideshow of that album.

I’ll explain how to set that up in a future post. In the meantime, or as an alternative, check out LiveFrame, a free app that displays photos from not just your photo library, but also your Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and other accounts. (If you want to remove ads, it’ll cost you $1.99.)

From there, you’ll just need a good iPad stand and a nearby outlet so it has full-time power. Trust me: Once you start using a photo frame, you’ll never want to live without it.

2. Dedicated music server
You may not think of your iPad as a music machine, as that big screen would seem to lend itself more to books, movies, games and the like. But let’s not forget it’s an iOS device, and therefore capable of providing infinite music options.
Your own library, yes, but also Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and lots of other great music apps.
Just pair your iPad with an AirPlay or Bluetooth speaker, then tap to queue up some tunes. And if you leave it on a side table sitting in a stand, you can enjoy some nice cover art while you listen.

3. Dedicated e-book and magazine reader

 

For hard-core readers, it’s hard to beat an iPad — especially the easier-to-hold iPad Mini ($335.00 at Amazon.com). It gives you access to just about every e-book reading app (and ecosystem) under the sun, from Kindle to Kobo to Nook to iBooks. Stock your old iPad with books and keep it at your bedside for an endless supply of nighttime reading.

And don’t forget magazines. The Mini feels a little small for them, but a full-size iPad works beautifully. 

Many print subscriptions come with digital editions you can access via their respective apps. There’s also Texture, which was recently acquired by Apple and offers unlimited magazine reading for a flat monthly rate.
Finally, don’t forget digital magazines you can check out from the library. They’re free, meaning you can turn your iPad into a full-blown magazine rack.

4. Kitchen helper
iPads and cooking go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or maybe that should be olive oil and balsamic. Either way, an iPad makes a great kitchen companion — not just for searching and viewing recipes, but also for watching demonstration videos (like this one for a simple oven-baked chicken parmesan, a favorite in my house).

In fact, you could install an under-cabinet tablet mount and keep your iPad at eye level, at the same time protecting it from cooking splatter.
And don’t forget all the great cooking apps, like How to Cook Everything, Butterball Cookbook Plus (essential around Thanksgiving), and the ever-popular Epicurious.

5. Secondary monitor
A dual-monitor setup can be a huge boon to your productivity, but if you work with a laptop, it’s not exactly convenient to schlep an extra LCD everywhere you go.

Ah, but guess what? Your iPad can pull monitor duty. Just install an app like Air Display, then use the tablet as a second screen alongside your PC. Put your mail client in there, or a stock ticker, or anything else you like to refer to throughout the day.

The desktop client is available for Windows and Mac; the iOS app will cost you $9.99.

6. The ultimate AV remote
If you’ve ever tried using your phone to control your TV, you know it’s not typically a great experience. Know why? The tiny screen.
An iPad, though, is pure home-theater luxury. You can use it with dedicated apps for your Apple TV ($179.00 at Walmart), Amazon Fire TV ($69.99 at Amazon.com), Chromecast, Roku and/or Logitech Harmony Hub system. That big screen makes it so much easier to navigate program guides, menus, virtual buttons and other items that feel extra-cramped on a phone.

What you do with your old iPads? Sound off in the comments below!!

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Weekly Round Up 3/30/18

 

 

Facebook can’t have all the fun…
It’s Amazon’s Turn in the Tech Hot Seat

It should be for any business that handles people’s data.
Backlash against tech companies is a wake-up call

Edward Snowden said it best, “Voluntary surveillance.”
Why do people hand over so much data to tech companies? It’s not easy to say ‘no’

As I was a watching a clip of this, I got the feeling Uncle Timmy might be running for office one day soon…
Recode Daily: Tim Cook talks Facebook, data privacy, domestic manufacturing and tech in education

This is super creepy and cool all at the same time.
A Prediction About Future Tech From The 1990s Has Gone Viral Because It’s Spookily Accurate

 

They never seem to get any better…
Women and Minorities tech; By the Numbers.

 

I don’t need Alexa cooking any meals for me, thanks.
To Invade Homes, Tech is Trying to Get Your Kitchen

I’m telling you, that tech episode of the X-Files scared the crap out of a lot of people.
How Tech Can Make Retirement Harder For Couples

WIT: How to make Women’s Day every day in tech

 

By Petra Andrea of Financial Review

It’s 2018, which means we have fridges that are probably better at planning our groceries than we are. We’ve found new planets that could potentially harbour life, and we’re eating stem-cell-produced medium-rare steak burgers without a trace of steak in them.

Innovation in tech and science is creating a whole new world of possibilities at an almost alarming rate. And yet there’s still one area of technology that seems stubbornly untouched by progress: persistent gender inequality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Multiple reports indicate that women hold just under a third of all IT jobs, and less than 10 per cent of technology jobs in Australia. Female tech entrepreneurs are outnumbered by their male counterparts at a rate of about four to one.
So why is so much progress being made within laboratories and workshops around the country in terms of tech innovation, and yet so little is being made on the gender inequality front?

Below are some of the ways women in technology continue to be held back – and what might be done to address them:

1) Problems in the playpen

Walking down any toy-shop aisle, it’s hard to miss the vast difference between the toys marketed for boys, and those aimed at girls.

Aside from the glaring colour differences – who knew pink came in so many different shades? – girls’ toys are more generally associated with domesticity, physical attractiveness and nurturing. Boys’ toys, on the other hand, are largely more functional – tools for building, creating and achieving. They promote skills in mathematical, engineering and scientific fields in a way the pink cohort sadly doesn’t.

And while a plastic pink tea set doesn’t have to be destiny, there is evidence that this type of early gendered socialisation creates a variety of social and economic consequences that can extend into adulthood. Research demonstrates it can contribute to the education gap in schools, it can affect a child’s choice in tertiary majors and it can even guide his or her future occupational choice.

It may be challenging to influence the purchasing preference of any three-year-old. However, non-gendered toys and STEM toys made especially for girls, are both now on the rise. From friendship bracelets that require programming (“Jewelbots”), to dolls houses with building kits complete with circuits and motors that allow girls to light up the structures they build themselves (“Roominate”), choices are increasing, parents may be relieved to know.

2) Schoolyard blues

Australia’s STEM education gender gap isn’t news to anyone.
Only 16 per cent of STEM-qualified people are female, according to a report by the Office of the Chief Scientist. Just one-10th of engineering graduates are women, and a quarter of IT graduates. Women also occupy less than 20 per cent of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes.

Dealing with a “boys’ club” culture in the classroom or lab of these degrees, a lack of encouragement into these fields by peers, family or professors, even low levels of female STEM representation in popular culture, all contribute to the ongoing socialisation and pressure on women away from these pursuits.
To address this, institutions must question how their learning environment contributes to or detracts from building interest in women for STEM degrees, and supporting them within the classroom and beyond.

3) A vicious VC cycle
For those women who have overcome a lifetime of socialisation, the challenges unfortunately don’t stop there. Only 5 per cent of female founders of tech start-ups are funded – a gender bias in venture capital that is seriously hurting our female tech entrepreneurs’ capacity to succeed.

This issue can actually be exacerbated when a female founder is seeking funding for a more “masculine” technology. Female founders seeking capital for “women’s” or “children’s” products, such as baby products or fashion platforms, are often far more likely to receive funding than those seeking capital for deeply technological and highly proprietary products.

This is indicative of a blatant subjectivity at play. The subtlety of some of the forces driving this are also likely to make it a challenging issue to address.
Internal bias (experienced by both men and women) can cause scepticism about a woman’s ability to manage a high-growth-potential start-up. This could be as ludicrous as believing women don’t have “what it takes” to make a tech-based start-up succeed, or concerns about balancing family with work. The sense of “sameness” that attracts us to people who are similar to us can also strongly weigh in subconsciously, with the majority of VCs being male.

In the end, tackling gender inequality in tech is likely to require multiple campaigns by numerous stakeholders targeting different individual issues across the entire life cycle of a woman’s childhood, education and career.
But if we can find artificial intelligence applications for the humble pizza delivery, surely resolving gender disparity on our own turf shouldn’t be considered an insurmountable challenge.

Do you think these suggestions will work for the US? Sound off in the comments below!

App of the Week: FlightLogger

Real-Time Flight Tracking for Worry-Free Travels

By John Voorhees of Macstories

Air travel can be stressful. FlightLogger, which is available on iOS and Android,
reduces the stress of travel by making it simple to search and save your flights, get up-to-date notifications on any changes to gates and terminals, share your travel plans with friends and family, and much more.

Too many flight tracking apps are a cluttered mess. FlightLogger’s design reduces the number of taps and information you have to input. Combined with a clear, glanceable timeline of your itinerary, FlightLogger is the perfect companion for the modern traveler.

FlightLogger is packed with innovative features:

• Track the flights of over 1500 airlines and 30,000 airports worldwide for worry-free travel.
• Add flights in-app or by forwarding flight confirmation emails to FlightLogger.
• Track departure and arrival times, delays, cancellations, and gate and baggage claim information.
• Receive flight status notifications on your iOS devices and Apple Watch.
• Track flights on your Apple Watch and other iOS devices with iCloud sync.
• View the approximate location of aircraft during flights.
• Keep family and friends up-to-date by sharing your travel details.
• Organize flights by trips, so you only see the information you need, when you need it.

The spring and summer travel seasons are just around the corner. Make your life easier by heading over to FlightLogger’s website to learn more and download the app today.

Do you have a favorite travel app? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

How to: find a lost iPhone even when it’s set to vibrate/silent

 

By Michael Potuck of 9to5 Mac

It can be a frustrating experience to try and find a lost or misplaced iPhone, particularly when it’s set to vibrate/silent. Follow along for two easy ways to locate your iPhone.

Apple offers a couple of handy ways to find your misplaced iPhone (and other
Apple devices) even when it’s set to vibrate/silent. Whether you’ve never used these features before or it’s just been a little while, let’s dive in!
One last thing to keep in mind, your lost iPhone will need to be powered on for the best chance of success, although there may be some hope if not.

Option 1
Find My iPhone is a super handy app that will make your iPhone ring even when it’s set to vibrate/ring. Keep in mind you’ll need to have the feature turned on in settings under iCloud → Find My iPhone. If you happen to be reading this before you’ve lost or misplaced your device it’s also helpful to turn on Send Last Location which automatically uploads this data to Apple just before your battery is about to die.
1 Open Find My iPhone, or download it from the App Store here
2 Tap on the device you’ve lost from the list shown
3 Tap Play Sound

Option 2
If you have an Apple Watch, there is a slick iPhone ping feature built right in. You also don’t need Find My iPhone to be turned on in iCloud settings for this to work.
1 Swipe up from the bottom of your Apple Watch to open Control Center
2 Tap on the ping iPhone icon as seen below

If your lost iPhone or other device has a dead battery, make sure to try and use the Find My iPhone app to at least see its last location. Sometimes that may be enough to jog your memory or put you on the path to finding it.

Do you have any clever ways to track down your missing phone? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: Buying an Android Phone in 2018? Here’s What to Expect

 

 

By Jeffery Van Camp of Wired

Yeah, it’s only March, but phone season has begun for 2018. Dozens of new handsets were unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the largest smartphone show on Earth, (here are the highlights) and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is already on its way to early birds. Also, Google is now circulating a developer preview of the next Android version, currently codenamed Android P.

With all this action, we’re beginning to get a picture of what smartphones in 2018 will look like. Here are some of the more interesting trends you may see on your next phone.

Notches Galore

It’s been years since smartphones didn’t all look mostly the same. In 2018, we can expect mobile manufacturers to once again get on the same wavelength—with that wave coming straight from Cupertino. Apple put a controversial notch at the top of its

iPhone X screen and we’ve already seen Android phones start to adopt it.
Asus has already shown off a line of phones with Apple’s new signature notch chopped out of the top, and the LG G7 and others will likely follow it into Notch City.

With Google offering support for “display cutouts” in its early Android P developer preview, it looks like the notch invasion is just beginning. The Essential Phone already had a camera cutout in 2017.

By year end, the phone market will be full of phones with really long, edge-to-edge screens, and a notch cut right out from the top. Many iPhone X users don’t seem to really like the notch, but don’t expect that to stop anyone. When the iPhone makes a design change, the industry tends to follow.

Knockoff Animoji

If you were creeped out by Apple’s new face-tracking animated Animoji, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Samsung has already debuted “AR Emoji” on its Galaxy S9, which mimics your face in a Nintendo Mii style and animates it. Asus’s Zenimoji are coming next, which look more like Apple’s version. And now that Samsung has its own Animoji, you can bet its Korean rival LG probably will soon too. Goofy animated faces, not to mention pigs and dogs, are just beginning to seep out of the woodwork.

Helpful Android Enhancements

In its new developer preview of Android P, Google pulled the lid off a few tasty new things you’ll start to see on Android phones in the next year or two. As usual, Google’s Pixel phone will get these features first, and the next Pixel is likely coming out around October. Once the new features launch on Google’s flagship device, they’ll start to trickle out to other phones.

To start, Google is adding support for Wi-Fi 802.11mc, which will let it give more accurate indoor mapping directions in places like museums, casinos, universities, and malls that have shared their indoor layouts. New Android devices that support the wireless protocol will be able to ping nearby networks of Wi-Fi hotspots to pinpoint your position indoors and give more precise guidance. Google Maps may soon be your go-to app when you need to navigate an unfamiliar airport.

Photos and pictures are also coming to Android notifications, along with those quick replies you may have seen in your Gmail, allowing instant responses right from the notification tray.

Google introduced the idea of Instant Apps last year, and you’ll likely start to see more of them pop up in 2018. They’re stripped-down apps that don’t require installation. The goal is to end the annoying requirement of downloading and installing full apps to perform simple tasks. You can access these Instant Apps from a URL, just like webpages.

Finally, security is getting a boost, too. You won’t be able to see it, but apps running in the background won’t have the ability to turn on your camera, microphone, or other sensors. Why they were ever allowed to do these things in the first place is a good question.

Thumb Wars

Apple did away with its Touch ID sensor entirely on the iPhone X, but Android phone makers won’t, partially because most (or all) of them just don’t have the security in place to make facial recognition work as securely as it does with Apple’s new Face ID. Instead, fingerprint sensors on Android handsets have almost all been moved to the backs of the phones, making way for those edge-to-edge screens.

This shift started years ago, thanks to innovations from companies like LG, but it’s the end times for home buttons and fingerprint buttons on the front of phones. You’ll be hard-pressed to find new devices coming out in 2018 that don’t use your index finger for biometric unlocking.

Face Off

It will take a while for Android manufacturers’ facial recognition tech to catch up to the secure systems already in place.

Samsung

Facial recognition technology requires some strict security measures to be an effective way to verify a user’s identity, and most Android manufacturers remain behind the curve. Even though many of the systems being demonstrated now can be fooled by a simple photograph, the big Android players will continue to show off new face detection unlocking features this year, if they haven’t already. They’ll likely call it a new feature, even though several companies have been building it into their devices for a while. Remember: Google showed off basic, insecure face unlocking years ago.

Faster LTE

Most of the fanciest phones this year will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, a chip that has gigabit LTE capability built right into it. Qualcomm thinks it will offer a real-world speed boost of 20 percent over current phones, but the platform is capable of 1.2 Gbps speeds.

The big holdup will be your wireless carrier. Providers like Verizon and T-Mobile are testing gigabit speeds, but bandwidth like that won’t be widespread for years. Your next phone will be a lot more capable than your wireless network.

Other perks of the 845 processor include a new dedicated security chip to protect things like payment and fingerprint data, enhanced video capabilities, and some improvements to battery life.

Double the Cameras

Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus (left) makes use of dual cameras to judge depth and add effects to photos.

Apple

 

Most high-end phones already have dual rear cameras, but Android P will bake in more support for the feature, so you can expect a lot more mid-range and cheaper phones to start doubling up their camera hardware. Dual-camera setups use a second camera to more accurately judge depth (this is why you have two eyes) and offer features like 2x zooming, depth effects for portrait shots, and wide-angle photos.

Some phone-makers, like Apple, do a great job utilizing the extra lens, but others still struggle to show a big improvement in photo quality. Who wants to take bets when we’ll see a tri-camera Android phone? It’s not as far off as you think. Rumors are swirling that Huawei is working on a camera with three lenses.

Wireless Charging Everywhere

Samsung has pushed wireless charging for years, but now that Apple has adopted the feature on the iPhone 8 and X, you can bet that the rest of the industry isn’t far behind. Here is a list of phones that have wireless charging now. Chances are high that your next phone will have it. We’ll also start seeing wireless charging stations pop up in places that aren’t McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Future Shocks

Vivo’s Apex phone is just a prototype, but it has some tech inside that signals where Android devices of the future are headed.

Vivo

 

You may wonder: What’s on the horizon for 2019 and beyond? I won’t get too deep into it, but there are a few innovations worth getting excited about. At Mobile World Congress in February, a company named Vivo showed off a concept phone named the Apex that had a fingerprint sensor and speakers built right into its screen.

Features like these could become commonplace. Before it showed off Face ID, Apple was rumored to be testing a Touch ID sensor built into the iPhone X screen. Sony is already selling a Bravia TV with speakers built into its screen, as well.
Smartphone companies have been pursuing foldable screens for many, many years, but they may finally arrive sometime soon. ZTE’s Axon M launched with a fold-out screen last year, and less clunky devices without hinges (or next to no bezel between the screens) are on the horizon.

Such a device may even come from Microsoft. Redmond is believed to be working on a tablet-like device, codenamed Andromeda or possibly a foldable Surface Phone. Samsung and others have also filed patents for foldable device tech. But don’t start buttering that smartphone pretzel just yet. Unlike all the other features actually coming to phones this year, folding screens still have many wrinkles that need ironing out.

Does anyone else see the similarities? Or is it just me? Sound off in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 3/23/18

 

 

Apple’s looking pretty good right now, huh?
Facebook scandal could push other tech companies to tighten data sharing

Facebook may have just pushed our society back to the dark ages where tech is concerned.
It’s Not Just Facebook. The Big Tech Revolt Has Begun, Says Nomura

#deletefacbeook
The new tech divide: social media vs. everyone else

I thought I did. I didn’t.
Want to #DeleteFacebook? You Can Try

Um, they’ve never been held accountable for anything until now. How can it get worse?
Big Tech’s accountability-avoidance problem is getting worse

After the story of what Facebook did broke this week, there was no way this bill wasn’t going to pass…
Senate passes sex trafficking bill in defeat for weakened tech industry

I weep for our future.
People were asked to name women tech leaders. They said “Alexa” and “Siri”


Right, because they’ve proven so trustworthy with normal data….(eye roll)

Tech company using facial recognition technology to combat revenge porn

 

Oh, good. We found him.
This White Tech Guy Has an Idea to Make Tech Less White

Tales from the Orchard: With these patents, Apple could win the next major platform war

 

By Helen Edwards and Dave Edwards of Quartz

The next stage of the platform wars may be in health.

Despite being one of the most regulated sectors, where change is driven as much by law as by technological advances, the big tech giants are active. Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway are teaming up to form an independent healthcare company for their employees in the United States. Alphabet’s Verily is moving into health insurance. And to consolidate, traditional healthcare giant Cigna has announced (paywall) it is buying pharmacy benefits firm Express Scripts.

While the same rules for platform domination will likely apply—adoption that builds on network effects aided by the power of Big Data and increasingly sophisticated AI—only one company already has a popular health-tracking device on sale that is essentially a supercomputer that’s always on your body.

The Apple Watch continues to grow its sales, which it doesn’t disclose but are already presumed to be in the tens of millions annually; one report suggests that Apple sold more watches last quarter than Rolex, Omega, and Swatch combined.

And the pipeline suggests that Apple has even more plans for its smartwatch.

At the end of February, Apple was awarded a patent for an Airpod-style charging case that can hold a watch but also a number of bands. This isn’t just a fashion accessory; the bands in question are “smart bands,” electronic devices in their own right. The reason you’d want more than one band might be because Apple might think that the next generation of medical devices will be for conditions that need more than one physiological measure—such as blood pressure and blood glucose for managing diabetes or glucose intolerance—and that measuring these body signals will not be possible in a single wearable.

(These bands aren’t fantasy—a company called AliveCor already offers the first US FDA-approved electrocardiogram reader for Apple Watch called Kardiaband, which may also be able to detect high potassium levels in the blood.)

Last year, Apple was also awarded a patent for a very clever way of measuring blood pressure with a Watch, where you can hold the Watch against your chest and a controller is configured to process output signals from an accelerometer. It detects when your blood-pressure pulse is propagated from the left ventricle of your heart, detects when it arrives at your wrist, then calculates a pulse-transit time that is then used to calculate your blood pressure. The accelerometer is dead in the middle of the band, not in the body of the Watch. This makes us think that there’s not much else that can go in that band, except perhaps a battery and maybe some colored lights.

Another area to speculate on is what else Apple may be thinking of monitoring. In the US alone, there are 115 million people who suffer from some form of pre-diabetes, diabetes, or hypertension. Many people actively monitor their diabetes through physiological monitoring of blood glucose with a finger prick test. Blood-glucose measurement through non-invasive means is a significant challenge and no one has figured out a reliable way to do it accurately.

But rumor has it that Apple is on the case. This is a very tough technical challenge that people have been trying to solve for decades. We suspect that Apple’s case patent may be an indicator that it will not be possible or desirable to use one band for both blood pressure and blood glucose, or anything else for that matter, for at least the next decade. So you might not be monitoring everything all of the time but you may be easily able to switch out charged smart bands that are fashionable and conceal that you are being monitored.

Apple needs the Watch to win the health-platform wars. They know you’ll want to preserve your privacy by being able to disguise what you are monitoring. They know you’ll want to be able to effortlessly store and connect because you will be required to supply all the data to your doctor, insurer or employer. They know that anything less will feel like the monitoring—and hence the condition—has taken over your life.

We think that only Apple can make medical surveillance bearable, much less cool. Which makes an Apple Watch, smart bands, and a case that does it all, an essential purchase. At that point, the Watch system is a lot more than just a $400 watch and the market isn’t just consumers—it’s employers and insurers who figure out the new economics of health as a platform service. The overall market for watches is likely smaller than phones but Apple’s competitive advantages in design, technology, and data security could give it a significantly higher market share in watches.

This is especially true for insurance company buyers who will be focused on effectiveness and security much more than price. If Apple emerges as the safe purchase for corporate buyers, the Watch could be the next big thing that investors have been looking for since the iPhone.

 

What do think of Apple tackling the Health Industry? Tell us in the comments below!

WIT: Data shows glimmers of hope for women in tech industry

Number of women studying computer science is rising

 

 

When Christine Betts arrived at the University of Washington in 2016, she planned to study economics. After an introductory computer-science course inspired her, she changed her mind.

Betts joins growing ranks of women at influential schools entering the software field. The numbers at some colleges offer a glimmer of hope in an otherwise male-dominated industry. 

At Betts’ school, as well as Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, women represent about a third of computer-science students. It’s hardly gender parity, but the numbers are higher than they were five years ago.

Female enrollment at some other elite technical institutions is even more encouraging. This year, more women will graduate with computer-science degrees than men for the second time ever at Harvey Mudd College, a southern California school whose alumni include creators of important web technologies such as SQL, Flash and GitHub (all men). 

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd, has led an effort to recruit more women and said doing so will improve technology for everyone.

“All of the most important challenges facing the world will require computer scientists to help solve them, and diverse teams find better solutions,” Klawe said. “The only way to meet the growing demand for people with CS knowledge and skills is to attract people who are not well represented now — e.g., women and people of color.”

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 42 percent of computer-science majors are women, up from 34 percent five years ago. The ratio is similar at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where female representation was as low as 7 percent in the 1990s.

“If we can do it, anybody can do it,” said Lenore Blum, a distinguished professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. “Now people are paying attention.”

Despite signs of progress at some schools, just 18 percent of undergraduate computer-science degrees go to American women, down from 34 percent in the early 1980s, according to government data. 

This has contributed to a gender imbalance throughout Silicon Valley. But the industry tends to make too much of the “pipeline problem,” which refers to the dearth of women studying computer science, and deflects blame for lack of corporate diversity on the education system.

In fact, many tech offices can seem less accommodating to female workers, especially with frequent reports of harassment and sexism. 

This may deter women from applying even for less technical roles or leadership positions. 

Merely getting more women to study software provides no guarantee that the graduates will seek careers in technology or stay in those jobs if they find them.

But education is a good place to start. 

While the burgeoning numbers of women at top schools aren’t yet reflected across the university system more broadly, that should happen in time, academics said. 

As is typical in higher education, some institutions experiment to see what works, and other schools follow the most effective strategies. For example, Carnegie Mellon has long asked high school computer teachers to talk up its software engineering program with girls, a tactic other colleges have adopted.

“The leading programs have been earlier to recognize this as something that deserves attention and also may have had the resources to do something about it,” said Ed Lazowska, the chairman of the computer-science department at the University of Washington in Seattle.

 

What do you think about these numbers? Have we made any real progress? Sound off in the comments below!

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