Since 1976, every February has been designated by a United States President as Black History Month and, in doing so, have endorsed a specific theme. The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States. To that end, we are pleased to make available from our CS Digital Library “The Role of Familial Influences in African American Women’s Persistence in Computing” by Y. Rankin, M. Agharazidermani and J. Thomas, published in the 2020 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) proceedings.
Many factors influence an individual’s decision to pursue a career in computing, not the least of which is familial influence. The authors of this paper explore the role that families of African American women play in their decision to pursue degrees and careers in computing. For this work, 34 African American women in computing, with varied experiences, were interviewed, providing insight into their experiences. An analysis of those interviews brought to light six critical factors that are identified and explored. Read the full article in the CS Digital Library.
Listening and understanding is the key to making careers in computing more accessible to individuals from all communities. Women in computing, and Black women in computing in particular, are still underrepresented in the profession, a significant deviation from the onset of the industry, when women had more representation, as demonstrated in Hidden Figures and the ENIAC project. Learn more about the IEEE Computer Society’s Diversity and Inclusion projects.
Interested in getting involved or contributing? Check out some of the resources we’ve compiled of organizations and initiatives working towards helping the African American community.