Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Dr. Fran Allen for winning this year’s A.M. Turing award from ACM. Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced the resolution to bring attention to both Dr. Allen’s accomplishments and that she is the first woman to receive this award. Rep. Woolsey noted the problems that the information technology field has had in recruiting women and the inspiration that Dr. Allen has provided for this underrepresented group.
Three stark statistics tell this story: Women, who earn more than half of all undergraduate degrees in this country and make up more than half of the professional workforce, represent only 25 percent of all information technology workers. The percentage of women graduating with Computer Science bachelors has fallen from 37 percent of total graduates in 1985 to just 15 percent in 2005. In addition, 15 percent of the AP Computer Science test-takers in 2005 were girls, while 56 percent of the overall AP test-takers were girls.
Congrats again to Dr. Allen for winning this award and thanks to Representative Woolsey for raising these issues before Congress.