Interventions

I am a student/student group.

  • Provide a Student Lounge

    A lounge and other informal spaces in which undergrad majors can interact outside of class can help integrate students and make the department feel more inclusive. Be sure that the lounge is welcoming and open to all students.

  • Host Community Dinners

    Having community dinners will make the population of women in tech more tightly knit and provide a space for women to discuss anything, from their experiences in CS to their day. Source

  • Plan a Women-Focused Computer Science Conference

    Planning a conference focused on women in CS can allow for a wide range of students to explore the realm of CS. By focusing on having women speakers at the event, students can see successful women in the industry in ways that might not traditionally be available in the classroom. Source

  • Coordinate Problem Set/Homework/Study Groups

    When the gender gap in CS classes is large, it’s especially helpful to coordinate study groups with women in classes, as well as facilitating the process of finding pset partners. Source

  • Create a Girls Who Code (or similar outreach) Program

    Creating a branch of the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code at your school can benefit both the college women in CS as well as the middle and high school girls learning to code. Working with college peers to teach the curriculum to younger girls can prove beneficial for the college students as they empower and give back to the younger girls, and it provides a sense of community for all involved. Source A; Source B

  • Facilitate Dinners with Faculty

    Faculty are typically eager to meet with students and discuss topics within CS and beyond, but many women and students are hesitant to take full advantage of this resource. By planning group dinners with faculty, women and students will be able to learn more from faculty beyond what they can in the classroom. Some colleges may have a fund for faculty-student dinners, so that is worth checking out as well. Source

  • Create a Women in Computer Science E-mail List

    Be sure to create an email list for all members of your Women in CS student group. The email list can be a resource for students to share relevant links, ask for help with classes, etc. Source

  • Host a Panel About Choosing Classes

    Near the time class schedules are due, hold a discussion panel where CS students can talk about their experiences with certain CS classes and where audience members can ask for guidance on which classes to take. When there is such a wide variety of CS classes, it can be overwhelming picking which ones to choose — so hearing from first hand experience helps. Source

  • Hold Study Breaks to Build Community

    During busy nights of the semester, host a study break to enhance the women in CS community at your school. Free food will always draw people. Source

  • Maintain a Photo Series on Social Media

    Post photographs and profiles of women in technology on social media accounts. This provides role models or peers for students and younger women to acknowledge and augments the student group’s social media presence. Viewers of the photo series may be able to relate to the experiences (or advice provided) by the photographed woman. Source

  • Hold Technical Workshops

    Hosting interview, negotiation, and technical skills (e.g. Git, command line) workshops proves beneficial to women as well as the greater community, especially since there is a gap in how comfortable people are with tools like Git going into introductory courses. Interview and negotiation workshops are especially helpful given the inherent gender biases that come into play in industry. Source

  • Organize a Mentorship Program

    By making pairs or groups of upperclassmen and underclassmen (often referred to as “BigSib/LittleSib” or “SibFam” programs at Harvard), freshmen girls will be able to learn more about tech-related classes, extracurriculars, and how to deal and grow in their environment in college from their upperclassmen peers. This will keep more women interested in computer science after their first year of college and provide them with a support network. Source

  • Create an Advocacy Council

    Such a group would be specifically targeted toward understanding and researching the gender gap—both overall and specifically at one’s own school. By gathering data through surveys, researching and brainstorming possible interventions, and hosting events, there will be increased awareness of the gender gap in tech, why it exists, and why everyone should play a part in fixing it. Source

  • Hold a Speaker Series

    Bringing in speakers who come from underrepresented groups in tech is valuable in providing insight to industry/academia, role models, advice, and points of contact to female students in STEM. Having speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds (large tech companies, start-ups, academia) would be most beneficial in helping students visualize what future career paths they would be most interested in. Source

I am a teacher.

  • Conducting Values Affirmation

    Provide a brief psychological intervention at the beginning of a course or a class (such as a 10-15 minute exercise when students write about their personally important values that may be unrelated to the course). In introductory classes these are shown to decrease the gender and minority grade gap and has effects even 2 years after the intervention. Source Alt text

  • Ensure Classroom Environment is Welcoming to Both Genders

    In order to ensure women in high school actually enroll in the computer science courses offered, a study shows the classroom environment and attitude is incredibly important. When the classroom setting is more “geeky” and stereotypical of computer science, girls are less likely to enroll, while the classroom environment didn’t impact the men’s enrollment. Source

  • Organize Technical Workshops and Encourage Female Participation

    Hold regular technical workshops, bootcamps and teaching sessions for current high schoolers, and create an inclusive environment for girls to attend these sessions. Have the events organized by teachers, professors, or current professionals in technology. Cover problems outside of the class curriculum and create an environment for students to advance their skills.

  • Bridge the Gap Between High School and College Technical Women

    Create channels of communication between current high school technical girls and female alumni who are pursuing STEM degrees in university. Organize a series of talks led by college students for successful high school women in computer science and STEM, and foster an environment in which high-schoolers can learn from the experience of their older peers. Invite former technical students for regular high school visits during their vacations and organize panels led by these students, through a series of “Success Stories”. This will create an environment in which college women are both role-models and friends with current high schoolers, thus allowing them to inspire the younger students through a more personal connection.

  • Promote Success of Women and Applications of Computer Science

    When trying to capture high school women’s interest in computer science, encourage current successful women in computer science to reach out to students and classes to talk about their interest in computer science as well as the applications of computer science to other fields. Source

  • Use a Curriculum (and Classroom) that Includes Women

    Make sure the curriculum you’re using, whether it’s books or video tutorials, show women just as much as they show men. Additionally, make sure the classroom setting and computer science department of the school includes women — whether that’s through posters in the classroom, guest speakers, etc. Source

  • Encourage Participation in Coding Immersion Programs

    Many coding summer programs and camps are geared specifically toward women. Encourage students’ participation in these, as they’re particularly aware of how to capture women’s interest in computer science, and many require little to no former coding experience. Source

  • Strengthen the STEM curriculum to provide concrete STEM opportunities

    Without actual opportunities (advanced classes with in-depth material, hands-on experiences, competitions, projects), girls will not be able to evaluate concretely if STEM is something they like. By strengthening the STEM curriculum and extracurriculars offered at the school, girls will be able to participate more in STEM and judge if it is something they may be passionate about. Source

  • Provide an all-inclusive community for girls in STEM or make current STEM communities friendlier to girls

    Girls need a space to bond over their experiences in and passions for STEM, especially at the pre-college level. By making current communities more open or by building new ones (e.g. Girls Who Code clubs), girls will have the opportunity to learn more about STEM and put that knowledge to use through projects and competitions without having the additional burden of being marginalized at their own school. Source

I am a grade school.

  • Organize Technical Workshops and Encourage Female Participation

    Hold regular technical workshops, bootcamps and teaching sessions for current high schoolers, and create an inclusive environment for girls to attend these sessions. Have the events organized by teachers, professors, or current professionals in technology. Cover problems outside of the class curriculum and create an environment for students to advance their skills.

  • Bridge the Gap Between High School and College Technical Women

    Create channels of communication between current high school technical girls and female alumni who are pursuing STEM degrees in university. Organize a series of talks led by college students for successful high school women in computer science and STEM, and foster an environment in which high-schoolers can learn from the experience of their older peers. Invite former technical students for regular high school visits during their vacations and organize panels led by these students, through a series of “Success Stories”. This will create an environment in which college women are both role-models and friends with current high schoolers, thus allowing them to inspire the younger students through a more personal connection.

  • Outreach and Education on Technical Careers

    Having outreach projects like career days or fairs in which workers in the tech industry (preferably from underrepresented groups) can visit schools and educate girls about science and engineering jobs, thus countering the stigma that technical jobs are completely isolating, repetitive, and masculine. Instead, depict engineering/computer science from a social aspect—creative problem-solving to help society. Done in high school, this can help increase the pipeline of high-achieving minority girls interested in pursuing computer science and related fields. Bringing in industry leaders of underrepresented backgrounds also provides role models, so that the younger girls can see role models at every step of the pipeline. Participating in events like Hour of Code can also increase the radius of exposure to computer science. Source

  • Strengthen the STEM curriculum to provide concrete STEM opportunities

    Without actual opportunities (advanced classes with in-depth material, hands-on experiences, competitions, projects), girls will not be able to evaluate concretely if STEM is something they like. By strengthening the STEM curriculum and extracurriculars offered at the school, girls will be able to participate more in STEM and judge if it is something they may be passionate about. Source

  • Provide an all-inclusive community for girls in STEM or make current STEM communities friendlier to girls

    Girls need a space to bond over their experiences in and passions for STEM, especially at the pre-college level. By making current communities more open or by building new ones (e.g. Girls Who Code clubs), girls will have the opportunity to learn more about STEM and put that knowledge to use through projects and competitions without having the additional burden of being marginalized at their own school. Source

I am a college/university.

  • Provide a Student Lounge

    A lounge and other informal spaces in which undergrad majors can interact outside of class can help integrate students and make the department feel more inclusive. Be sure that the lounge is welcoming and open to all students.

  • Offer Scholarships to Young Women in Technology

    In addition to inspiring the next generation of women to pursue technical careers (and perhaps providing them the means to do so), this also shows that the institution is invested in diversity in computer science. Source

  • Perform Outreach to High School Teachers

    Universities can host summer training sessions and institutes to prepare high school teachers in STEM fields to provide gender equal instruction and recruiting girls into their classes. For example, Carnegie Mellon in 1997 to 1999 conducted a summer institute for AP Computer Science teachers with successful. Source

  • Send an Inclusive Message About Who Makes a Good Computer Science Student

    Change admissions policies that give preference to applicants with previous computer science experience. Carnegie Mellon performed this change and found an increase in the women applicants with no change in the quality of the applicant pool. Source

  • Broaden the Scope of Early Coursework

    Widen the number of different types of courses students can take without assuming prior knowledge to programming. Also conveying a ‘purpose’ of computer science that is broader than just programming. Source

  • Provide Departmental Social Activities

    Lunches, seminars, and and social events help to bring potential students into the department. Source

  • Treat Pregnancy Leave the Same as Other Kinds of Disability Leave

    Female faculty often have to choose between getting a course release and getting paid disability leave for delivery. They also need to find substitute teachers. Professors under medical leave rarely need to find their own replacements or trade off other faculty benefits. Thus, pregnancy leave should have the same terms and conditions as other medical leaves. Source

  • Design Parental Leave Policies Based on Caretaking Status, Not Sex

    Link parental caregiving leave to the caregiver, not the biological sex. To prevent professors from using leave to do extra research, schools like Stanford & Harvard Law have policies that have minimum time requirements, and those eligible must be the "sole caregiver" for the requisite period. Source

  • Provide Central Funding for Leave

    The cost to replace faculty on leave is generally a small portion of a school's overall budget (see UC system), especially if the replacement teachers are just adjuncts. Dedicated funding should cover the cost of hiring replacements. Source

  • Offer a Stop-the-Clock Option

    Tenure-clock-stop policies let tenure-track faculty take a temporary pause from tenure track after the birth/adoption of a child. This may include other family care like elder care as well. There would be no penalty for extra time taken to arrive at tenure review, and the clock would resume with the same number of years left as when the clock paused at the end of the period. Duke implemented this with an extension to illness (personal or of family), residential property losses, and heavy administrative duties, which both sexes can use, removing the stigma. Source

  • Design “Opt-Out” Instead of “Opt-In” Policies

    Designing opt-out policies conveys the message that these policies are expected to be used, helping remove the stigma of stop-the-clock and similar poicies and the discomfort associated with asking chairs for permission to use those policies. MIT, Vanderbilt, Princeton, and UChicago have done this successfully. Source

  • Create Mentoring Programs to Support Junior Faculty

    Automatic mentor assignments and mentoring networks can prevent junior faculty members from "falling through the cracks" and help integrate them into the department/profession. Source

  • Institute Professional Networking Opportunities for Women

    Women tend to establish fewer professional contacts and get left out of those networks compared to their male colleagues. Promoting these opportunities for women helps foster gender equity. Source

  • Offer Convenient and Affordable Childcare

    Offering convenient and affordable childcare will help faculty succeed professionally, increase their satisfaction, and help the university attract and retain talent. This should also apply to staff members. Source

  • Offer Dependent Care Travel Grants

    Institutions can take the financial burden off of faculty, especially junior faculty, by offering financial support to decrease or eliminate costs from dependent care at home, on-site care at a meeting, or transportation costs. Source

  • Offer Gender Bias Training to Faculty Search Committees

    Professors should be made more aware of how to avoid potential lawsuits, gender bias, and racial bias while making human resource decisions in recruiting and retaining talent. Source

  • Monitor the Faculty Search Process

    With or without training, members of a search committee should be subject to a monitoring process at the institutional level to maintain accountability and minimize bias. Source

  • Prevent Gender Bias during Negotiation (Double Blind Avoidance)

    Women tend to find it harder than their male colleagues to negotiate aggressively for their hiring packages without being perceived negatively. Having resource negotiation based on a list of requests from potential new hires or confidential negotiation counseling could help prevent the long-term career consequences of lower initial starting packages. Source

  • Train Department Chairs to Manage Flexibility

    The people responsible in hiring have traditionally had minimal training in important university policies such as family leave (e.g. Family and Medical Leave Act). It is essential to train all chairs on how to implement those family-responsive policies and manage with flexibility. Source

  • Offer Gender Bias Training to Faculty

    Stereotyping can affect and penalize women and is often done even by faculty with good intentions. Training is crucial to making family-responsive policies effective so that women, mothers and caregivers in particular, are not penalized. Source

  • Provide Cafeteria-Style Benefits

    To control backlash against family-responsive policies is to provide cafeteria-style packaging of existing benefits, in which employees can design their own packages from a range of options. Such a plan can address diverse needs; some faculty need assistance with elder care instead of child care, for example, and prevents academics without children from feeling like their own work-life struggles are being ignored if benefit policies solely address the needs of faculty with children. Source

  • Appoint a Trained Family Leave Specialist

    Faculty members who wish to take advantage of family-responsive policies could turn to a trained family leave specialist instead of having to turn to department chairs that may be ignorant of such policies or may not apply them fairly. Source

  • Leadership From The Top

    One effective way to encourage policy adherence is highlight support and enthusiasm from the senior administration, e.g. a president or a provost. When deans and chairs echo support for these policies, faculty members are more likely to confidently use them. This also creates a more family-responsive institutional culture. Source

I am a company.

  • Provide Job Shadowing Opportunities

    Providing job shadowing for women engineering students in an industry setting with female role models. In a study done in 2011-2012, this was shown to be effective changing stereotypes. Source

  • Increase Job Mobility, Flexibility, and Opportunities for Promotions

    In many interventions middle-aged to older women are seen as resources rather than beneficiaries of diversity initiatives. Often times promotions to more active jobs with longer hours conflict with starting/caring for families. Companies should accommodate women’s needs, e.g. how BP created an onshore position for a female employee who felt too isolated from her husband and children to take an offshore position post-maternity leave. BP ensured that the employee felt comfortable enough to do this, knowing that the company would encourage future possibilities of upward mobility once/if she wanted to take on a more active role, and other companies ought to follow this model. Source

  • Offer Scholarships to Young Women in Technology

    In addition to inspiring the next generation of women to pursue technical careers (and perhaps providing them the means to do so), this also shows that the company is invested in diversity in computer science. Source

  • Institute Professional Networking Opportunities for Women

    Women tend to establish fewer professional contacts and get left out of those networks compared to their male colleagues. Promoting these opportunities for women helps foster gender equity. Source

  • Prevent Gender Bias during Negotiation (Double Blind Avoidance)

    Women tend to find it harder than their male colleagues to negotiate aggressively for their hiring packages without being perceived negatively. Having resource negotiation based on a list of requests from potential new hires or confidential negotiation counseling could help prevent the long-term career consequences of lower initial starting packages. Source