ChicTech, an outreach program of the University of Illinois Department of Computer Science, extends an open invitation for college women to participate in the second annual Games for Girls Programming Competition (G4G).So the gender imbalance in CS is due to the fact that girls don't play enough computer games. Guess that makes me a bad father for limiting the amount of time my daughters spend on the computer.
G4G was conceived in response to research indicating that boys enjoy a relatively greater degree of confidence with computers because they spend more time as children playing computer games. The research suggests that this difference in confidence contributes to the gender imbalance seen in the field of Computer Science.
I do see at least one of my daughters more confident talking anonymously in a virtual world than in her real classroom. So suppose we had some virtual classrooms where students were represented by avatars (cartoon characters) and nobody knew the mapping from real students to avatar. Then the women (and the men) might be more willing to participate if they felt they had no risk from speaking up. But is this the environment we really want to teach in?