Women in com­put­ing to de­cline to 22% by 2025, study warns

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: NEW RE­SEARCH warns that at the rate we’re go­ing, the num­ber of women in the com­put­ing work­force will de­cline to 22 per cent from 24 per cent by 2025 if noth­ing is done to en­cour­age more of them to study com­puter sci­ence.

The re­search from Ac­cen­ture and non­profit group Girls Who Code says tak­ing steps now to en­cour­age more women to pur­sue a com­puter sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion could triple the num­ber of women in com­put­ing to 3.9 mil­lion in that same time­frame.

Women ac­count for 24 per cent of com­put­ing jobs to­day, but could ac­count for 39 per cent by 2025, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Crack­ing the Gen­der Code. And greater num­bers of women en­ter­ing com­puter sci­ence could boost women’s cu­mu­la­tive earn­ings by $299 bil­lion and help the United States (US) fill the growing de­mand for com­put­ing tal­ent, said Julie Sweet, Ac­cen­ture’s group chief ex­ec­u­tive for North Amer­ica.

“The so­lu­tion starts with ed­u­ca­tion – we need to de­velop more tai­lored pro­grammes that ap­peal to girls’ in­ter­ests, and take a more tar­geted and se­quenced ap­proach to en­cour­age girls to pur­sue (com­puter sci­ence) re­lated learn­ing at each stage of their ed­u­ca­tion,” Sweet said.

Ac­cen­ture and Girls Who Code iden­ti­fied fac­tors that in­flu­ence women’s de­ci­sions to study and work in com­put­ing, in­clud­ing a sur­vey of girls ages 12-18, col­lege stu­dents, com­put­ing pro­fes­sion­als, par­ents and teach­ers, and then used the re­sults to in­ter­view more than 8,000 peo­ple to val­i­date the find­ings. Re­searchers then cre­ated a model to es­ti­mate the po­ten­tial changes to fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in com­put­ing and cal­cu­late the po­ten­tial ef­fect on women’s earn­ings.

The re­search was re­leased dur­ing the an­nual Grace Hop­per Cel­e­bra­tion of Women in Tech­nol­ogy, a con­fer­ence put on by the Anita Borg In­sti­tute for Women in Tech­nol­ogy in part­ner­ship with the As­so­ci­a­tion for Com­put­ing Ma­chin­ery. More than 15,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend the three-day event that en­cour­ages the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in com­put­ing. LOS ANGELES: A PUBLIC aware­ness cam­paign last year did lit­tle to de­ter the growing num­ber of rogue drones fly­ing near wild­fires and forc­ing fire­fight­ers to ground their own air­craft.

So this year, the Depart­ment of the In­te­rior tried some­thing a lit­tle more di­rect.

The agency gave real-time ac­cess to data on all ac­tive wild­fires to two airspace map­ping com­pa­nies as part of a pilot pro­gramme.

One of those firms, AirMap, worked with drone man­u­fac­turer DJI, which cre­ated ‘ge­ofences’ around wild­fires. When drones hit the vir­tual bound­ary, the ge­ofenc­ing soft­ware over­rides the flight con­troller and forces them to hover in place. Any drone de­ployed in­side the bar­rier won’t be able to lift off.

“We re­ally want to have this new com­mu­nity of pilots be as re­spon­si­ble as the manned air­craft pilots that came be­fore them,” said Mark Bathrick, di­rec­tor of the of­fice of avi­a­tion ser­vices at the Depart­ment of the In­te­rior.


As pri­vate drone use has soared, so has con­cern about keep­ing the re­mote-con­trolled air­craft away from sen­si­tive and high-risk ar­eas such as air­ports, nu­clear power plants and pris­ons.

Those con­cerns are height­ened by high-pro­file in­ci­dents such as the near col­li­sion in March of a drone and a Lufthansa jet ap­proach­ing Los Angeles In­ter­na­tional Air­port. In 2013, a drone crash landed in front of Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel at a cam­paign event, and a quad­copter crashed on the White House lawn in 2015.

De­fence gi­ants Boe­ing Co and Lock­heed Martin Corp, as well as a hand­ful of star­tups, have jumped into the fray, de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy rang­ing from de­tec­tion sys­tems to more dis­rup­tive so­lu­tions such as soft­ware that forces unau­tho­rised drones to go home or land safely, and laser cannons that shoot un­wanted drones out of the sky.


The tech­nol­ogy is of in­ter­est to com­mer­cial users as well as the government. The Depart­ment of De­fense hosts an an­nual coun­ter­drone demon­stra­tion called Black Dart in which the mil­i­tary, its al­lies and in­dus­try part­ners can assess cur­rent tech­nol­ogy and tech­niques.

Ear­lier this year, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion tested FBI drone-de­tec­tion tech­nol­ogy at John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tional Air­port in New York and At­lantic City In­ter­na­tional Air­port in New Jer­sey for a few weeks.

Last year, Boe­ing un­veiled its com­pact laser weapons sys­tem, which ig­nites tar­geted drones. At a demon­stra­tion in Cal­i­for­nia, Boe­ing said it took only about 15 sec­onds for its 2-kilo­watt laser to dis­able the drone.

Though the coun­ter­drone in­dus­try is still nascent, the global mar­ket – in­clud­ing both civil­ian and mil­i­tary uses – could be worth at least sev­eral hun­dreds of millions of dol­lars, said Michael Blades, se­nior in­dus­try an­a­lyst for aero­space and de­fence at re­search and con­sult­ing firm Frost & Sul­li­van.

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