Women in computing to decline to 22% by 2025, study warns
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.
THE PROBLEMS INCREASE
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.