"The latest data shows that out of all U.S. entering freshmen declaring a
major in computer science, African-American women made up only 3.3
percent. The fact is that women are not choosing technology, and this is a
dangerous predicament. When you couple that with the fact that it is
estimated that 75 percent of all jobs by the year 2020 will require a
technology background, it becomes a crisis call."
( Jason T. Black, Ph. D., assistant professor in CIS)
The stereotype of computer scientists as nerds who stay up all night
coding and have no social life may be driving women away from the field,
according to a new study published recently. This stereotype can be
brought to mind based only on the appearance of the environment in a
classroom or an office.
"When people think of computer science the image that immediately pops
into many of their minds is of the computer geek surrounded by such
things as computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food,"
said Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington assistant professor of
psychology and the study's lead author. "That stereotype doesn't appeal
to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."
The Pink Computer Club is a way to present an image that is
non-masculine and give the young women an image that they can relate
to. The Pink Computer Club was formed by Carol Ray-Holmes, CEO of
Lady Ray Computer Services, LLC. This club has a limited membership
for young women between the ages of 11 and 17. The club will introduce
computer literacy with a final result of completing certification in IC3
(Internet and Computing) with disciplines in Computer Fundamentals,
Applications (Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and Living Online.
After receiving the IC3 certification, the participants may enroll in an
advance class to include Adobe Specialist Certification (Dreamweaver,
Flash or Photoshop); MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) (see grid).
The club is exclusive to young women who are truly interested in the
computer science field. An application and screening process is
presented to potential applications. The applicants will also forego an
assessment test in order to screen participants' skill before entering the
Everything is free to the participants. An incentive of a pink netbook will
be awarded to the club member who achieves the highest score in all three
of the IC3 exams.
"I wanted to do this for the community because it is appalling that there are
not many African American women in the Computer Technology fields.
Computer related fields pay very high salaries. I want to make the
community aware and give them a head start in either going to college or
getting a good job in the computer technology fields." (Carol Ray-Holmes,
CEO, Lady Ray Computer Services, LLC.)