Sometimes geek culture can seem a bit overwhelming to the outside world. Unfortunately, you mention someone has a computer science major to the general public and they’ve already rendered an image in their head of the stereotype we’re all quite familiar with. Not surprisingly, that stereotype is much of the reason that women seem to be turning away from certain fields that most people would think only geeks would stay within. The most obvious being computer science. Most people have already heard that not only is the female to male ratio incredibly low, but it keeps dropping. So one study decided to verify the problem.
They did a total of 4 studies that used over 250 students who were not studying computer science. They took 40 male and female students into one of two different types of classrooms. The first type was filled with those stereotypical decorations like video game boxes, coke cans and Star Trek posters. Whereas the second was a very generic classroom with some coffee mugs, nature posters and that sort of thing. With both of the rooms the students were told to ignore their surroundings, because it was purely set up that way for a different class. Within the geeky classroom, women were significantly less interested in computer science than the men. They found with women when “given the choice of joining one of two all-female teams at a company, with the only difference between the teams being the objects found in respective workrooms, 82 percent of the women picked the team with the non-stereotypical workroom.” You can check out more of the details by going here. Overall the study shows what we might have guessed already, stereotypical geek culture tends to scare off the ladies.