For the very first time in her academic career, filmmaker Robin Hauser Reynolds' daughter had doubts. Always a confident and capable student, now, as a first-year college student studying computer science, she felt that she didn't belong. Not only was she one of just two women in her computer science courses, she also felt that her male peers had been much better prepared to succeed in the program. How could this be?
That was the question plaguing Hauser Reynolds as she launched the investigation that would become the documentary film, Code: Debugging the Gender Gap. How is it that women are not encouraged pursue education and careers in the tech field, an industry that not only is predicted to show tremendous growth, but also to be greatly understaffed by the year 2020? What she found was that women aren't the only ones being left out.
"It wasn't just about sexism in the industry," Hauser Reynolds says. "It was actually a cultural problem — there's a big issue of stereotypes and there are very few role models. ... You hear the old adage, 'You cannot be what you cannot see,' and I think this is especially true in tech."
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Hauser Reynolds speaks about her film, explores why there are so few women and minorities in the tech field, and discusses what needs to be done for that to change.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.