Gallup: Girls Less Confident About Computer Science

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By Keith Wagstaff

The lack of diversity at Silicon Valley tech companies has roots in America's schools, where, according to a recent poll, both students and teachers believe boys are more interested and capable than girls when it comes to learning computer science.

Overall, 46 percent of female students in seventh to 12th grade said they were confident they could learn computer science, compared to 62 percent of boys.

The study, part of an ongoing collaboration between Gallup and Google, involved thousands of students, parents and teachers from schools across the country.

Read More: Want to Get Girls Into Computer Science? Here's What Parents Can Do

When teachers were asked, "Who do you think is more interested in learning computer science?", 63 percent of them said boys; only 4 percent said girls.

They were also asked "Who do you think is more likely to be successful in learning computer science?" Again, they chose boys over girls, 36 percent to 19 percent. (Forty percent said they would do equally well). The numbers were similarly skewed for parents.

Not only are girls getting the message that computer science is a boy's world from their parents and teacher, they are also getting it from pop culture.

Students were asked how often they saw women who did computer science in TV and movies. Only 15 percent said they saw it "often." More than a third (36 percent) said they saw it "not very often" or "never."

Read More: How to Solve Tech's Diversity Problem? Start With Schools