THE COMPUTER TECHNOLOGIES
By Maureen Fitzgerald
At the Computer Technologies
Program (CTP) in Berkeley, the program is an attempt to
expand career and economic potential for women with disabilities. This
project aims to raise the percentage of women in the computer programming
training from 18 to 36 percent.
researching sites on the Internet and meeting with a focus group several
times, the following emerged as keys to recruiting women to a technical
- Women mentors and role models are essential to attract
and retain women in technical training.
- Computers at home make it easier to juggle work and
- Career counselors may have incorporated the bias
against women going into technical careers.
- Counselors should expect women to be hesitant to
go into technical careers.
- Outreach materials must include pictures of women.
The focus group was made up of 3 representatives from
the Department of Rehabilitation, 2 representatives from computer technology
businesses, 3 representatives from the CTP staff and students, and 2
representatives from research institutes.
interesting facts came out of looking at the student statistics at CTP.
The women who entered CTP during its over 20-year history, had a lower
drop-out rate than the men. Also, many different disabilities are represented
in the student population. Deaf students represent less than 10 percent
of CTP graduates but of the Deaf students 40 percent were women. When
asked what might account for this difference, several Deaf people responded
that computer technology offers a career that has less communication
barriers for Deaf people, so Deaf women jump at the chance to get trained
as programmers. Also, there might be something about the Deaf community
that offers more support or less discouragement to women in technical
© 2000 by Individual Authors