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Gender and Minority Gap Widens in Fairfax County School District

Girls and minorities continue to be underrepresented in Fairfax County high school math and computer science classes, a trend that will severely inhibit their career opportunities in an increasingly technology-driven environment, according to a new report. The Fairfax County School Board’s Human Relations Advisory Committee noted that these “high-tech” classes, where boys outnumber girls 3 to 1, are in danger of becoming the new “boy’s clubs.”

“While we’ve made some great gains in math and the sciences, this area is especially important because the information technology sector is where the jobs and money are,” said the committee chairman, Sharon Eisenberg.

Some are attributing the increasing gender gap to “male-oriented, and male-dominated” software, and the trend by some educators to direct young women toward the word-processing functions of the computer. Fairfax County School Superintendent Daniel Domenech said that officials will be developing an initiative to remedy the problem, but cites the fact that several female graduates are involved in consulting work for about $30,000 a year. Others advise that officials should be working more with guidance counselors and educators in breaking down sex segregation.

Sources:

The Washington Post -July 14, 1998