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On Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Computing: Finding Allies in Overrepresented Populations

Abstract : Participation in science and engineering after the nineteenth century has largely been skewed toward men, computing being no different. However, the history of diversity in computing offers an unexpected insight. Some might assume that there has been a smooth progression from originally a few women in computing to a slightly more representative proportion at the present time. This article reviews the significant and growing body of scholarship that has challenged this linear assumption. In addition to the female pioneers who are now well known, there were many women who made the transition from hand calculators to computer operators at the time IFIP was established. An historical analysis of the decrease in the participation of women after their initial dominance shows that the rhetoric of rigorous computing coincides with the decreasing percentage of women. Thus, computing offers important lessons into the way policy and ideology can inadvertently cause a lag in representation for some demographic groups. Based on the author’s own experience in fostering an inclusive environment at a U.S. engineering school, this paper then describes the challenges and opportunities for programs to enhance diversity and reverse the historical exclusion of certain groups. IFIP has been a leader in incorporating the history of computing into technical education, which can result in creating curricula that foster diversity and make a more inclusive atmosphere by incorporating the arts, broadly conceived, into STEM to create STEAM.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 9, 2021 - 3:52:23 PM
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Christopher Leslie. On Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Computing: Finding Allies in Overrepresented Populations. Leon Strous; Roger Johnson; David Alan Grier; Doron Swade. Unimagined Futures – ICT Opportunities and Challenges :, AICT-555, Springer International Publishing, pp.142-161, 2020, IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, 978-3-030-64245-7. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-64246-4_12⟩. ⟨hal-03194549⟩

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