We conclude that there is no overt gender bias or discrimination against women in Stanfords Computer Science Department deterring women from becoming faculty. In answer to the shrinking pipeline phenomenon, or why women are leaving computer science from the Masters to the PhD level and then from the PhD level to academia, we conclude that motivation, parental support, work/life balance issues, the enticement of industry over academia, the perception of both men and women towards women, the shortage of women role models, subtle bias, lower self-confidence among women and social awkwardness are all factors motivating women to leave their academic programs in computer science.
Seek out women:
Although Stanford is certainly not hiring fewer women than are available, more effort could be put into search committees that will find qualified women rather than waiting for things to gradually change. Certainly things have improved over the past 10 years, as the increase in women faculty has been accompanied by an increase in women computer science majors. A clear correlation exists, and once there are more women in the major, there will ultimately be more faculty one day too.
Encourage women to be TAs:
Currently, the introductory programming class CS106A is one of the most popular and successful classes at Stanford for attracting large numbers of men and women from all areas of study. Having women as section leaders would allow women students to have role models more immediate than female professors, especially considering that these students themselves could be section leaders in just one year. [Roberts essay]
While having female role models in introductory classes is certainly effective in encouraging women to start pursuing CS, hiring more female TAs for some of the more advanced classes may also encourage more women to stay in the major after the introductory classes.
Encourage women to stay in CS when they consider switching majors:
Currently, women have fewer barriers to exit computer science than men, thus perpetuating the notion that CS is for men. Although, as one professors stated, women who are going to drop out usually drop out very early at the undergraduate level, this is precisely when they need the most encouragement from both parents/family and academia.
Retain women by creating a positive atmosphere
The department should openly support/appreciate women in computer science by actively participating and organizing women in computer science meetings. It can even go so far as to offer a course on women in computer science, encouraging both males and females at all academic levels to take the course. Minimally, the department could host presentations/discussions that relate to the status and the reality of the environment for women in computer science. Also, the department should investigate what they can do to keep women or to encourage women to pursue higher education in computer science. One way is to offer exit interviews to any woman leaving computer science, whether graduating, switching out, or quitting.
Get women in early
Several interviewees suggested drawing women into computer science at an early age. One male PhD summed it up best:
CS isn't that politically glamorous a field either - people seeking to demonstrate that women are being kept from the reins of power are much more likely to look at top business, law, or medical schools before looking at technical fields. "Outreach" literature intended to make young girls pursue advanced education are much more likely to be singling out professions like doctors, lawyers, and CEOs than professions like researchers or software developers. That means that less females will love the field to begin with, and without outside motivation, they'll have no reason to join.
Outreach literature should be expanded to include computer science careers in academia as well as industry.
Also, a female lecturer pointed out that young males get drawn into computer science because of video games whereas young females tend not to be as enthusiastic about video games. Accordingly, young females should be exposed to fun and visual oriented experiences with computers and computer science to get them excited about computer science and draw them in early.
Offer equivalent resources and mentorship programs to female students at all academic levels
Early on their education, young women need to have equal access to resources for any academic pursuit. Currently, while they may have a plethora of resources for the more fuzzy subjects, there is usually a dearth of techie resources. For example, most private, all-girl high schools offer many and varied humanities services more classes and specialized training for AP tests. However, these same schools offer fewer technical classes (ie, Physics, Computer Science, etc.) and have virtually no support infrastructure for the corresponding AP tests.
In addition to equal distribution of resources, mentors could greatly ease the trepidation of pursuing these currently male-heavy disciplines. It is much easier to venture into the unknown with a guide who has been there, done that.
Offer a support network for academics with families
and publicize it
While women who are already in academia feel that it offers the flexibility to have a family, many women who are in the process of deciding whether to go into academia may feel that having a family and pursuing a professorship are incompatible. The perception among many students is that industry is more tolerant of and offers better support of workers with families. Universities that wish to attract female faculty should have flexible policies regarding maternity leave and time off, and possibly child care (as more and more businesses are starting to offer it). But just having a support network is not enough; the University needs to be sure that potential faculty know that support is available. Women might then be less inclined to lean towards industry because of family concerns.
Only hire qualified women
While it is important to recruit qualified women for positions in a University, any sacrifice in quality for the sake of hiring a woman or minority does more harm than good. It only feeds the claims of reverse discrimination, and perpetuates the ideas which some may still have that women are not as skilled at CS as men are.
Help women build their support networks
The department should actively promote and support women's engineering and computer science support groups, especially in introductory classes. While some women can adapt their behavior to the male dominated CS environment, if both male and female professors actively recommended to the females in their classes that they attend workshops and homework meetings put on by women's engineering associations like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), women who are unable or unwilling to bend their behavior to a male dominated environment can still achieve a support network with other women, and, consequently will be more likely to stay in computer science.