Google Summer of Code has so few women

July 11, 2012 at 2:41 am 3 comments

I didn’t know much about the Google Summer of Code before I saw this blog post.  I was vaguely aware of it, but wasn’t aware of its scope and process.  I am surprised that Google would invite so few women to join the program.  I’d like to hear what percent female is the applicant pool. Are there more women available that Google isn’t picking?

In recent years, less than 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women, so it’s not at all surprising that GSoC’s numbers are similarly low. For the 2012 program, just 8.3% of accepted students are female, a dismally low number. But, Google reports that the percentage of women in the program is increasing, slowly but surely. Last year, women only made up 7.1%, so this year is a good improvement.

via 15 Cool Facts About Google’s Summer of Code – Online Universities.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  July 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I think the application process is very daunting to students who are not so confident. It requires a lot of knowledge about the ways that open source organizations work, and a lot of self-promotion. My students tend to have low confidence, especially among the many who are from less privileged backgrounds, and when I tell them about Summer of Code, they tell me that it isn’t worth even trying because they couldn’t possibly get accepted. I suspect many female students react the same way.

    I should note that we did have students who worked on a similar project, through the Humanitarian Open Source project. I handled the interviews myself. The students knew me and were very enthusiastic – I had many applications for the spots, and ended up with a group who did a great job with a hard project. So it isn’t a lack of interest or ability, just confidence.

  • 2. Alfred Thompson  |  July 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I think that Bonnie is probably right on the money with her comments. I do wonder if the reputation that Open Source has with regards to women may be a factor as well. In general everything I hear aboout Google is that it is a women friendly place to work (for Silicon Valley at least) and that they are interested in getting more women into the field.

  • 3. jiji  |  February 22, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Hello, I am a female student in Computer Science. And to be honest before reading this post I was not going to apply for the GSoC thinking that there is no chance of me getting accepted even though I have 3.87 GPA. But now, I think I’m going to give it a try. Bonnie is right, it is a matter of confidence.


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