Computing is among the best-paying jobs for women, but that might not be enough
Information science and computer science are both in the top five best-paying jobs for women, says Forbes. Yet, the percentage of women in computing remains dismally in the low-teens percent at most schools. Why is that? Do women not know that computing pays well for them, or is that not a factor in their choice of majors?
It’s a complicated question of how one chooses a career. I ran another half marathon on Thanksgiving, and noticed the same observation in the results that I did when I ran the DisneyWorld half marathon in January: Women are the majority of the runners, but the men (on average) run faster. Ambition to be “the best” is not what’s motivating all those women to run. In Education, there’s the Eccles Model of Achievement-Related Choices that speaks to choice of major. Expectation of success is a primary factor (for the student’s definition of success), but just as large is the value that the student has for the choice, and that’s influence by a variety of factors, including affect and social milieu. High pay might not be one of the critical values for women in choosing careers.
Due to the continuing gender difference in pay, researchers at the CEW analyzed 171 undergraduate majors by how well they pay off for women. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top 10 best-paying college majors for women closely align with the most recent list of the best-paying jobs for women, with pharmacy reigning supreme. The list is also dominated by engineering and computer science majors, areas where men are highly concentrated.