Documentary and discussion to examine gender gap in computer science April 18

March 28, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A public screening of “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap,” a documentary that includes profiles of successful women in computer science careers, will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus. This event is sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries Diversity Programming Committee in collaboration with information science and technology and computer engineering liaison librarians Carmen Cole and Vanessa Eyer.

As tech jobs are growing three times faster than colleges are producing computer science graduates, “CODE” exposes the shortage of American female and minority software engineers. The 78-minute film examines the reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science and explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles, and sexism all play roles in this national crisis.

A discussion following the film will be moderated by Karen Estlund, the University Libraries associate dean for technology and digital strategies.

“CODE” delves into the history of computing to highlight women like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper who set the stage for today’s technology and blends personal stories, expert voices, animation, and moments from popular culture. Robin Hauser Reynolds, inspired by national headlines touting the importance of computer science knowledge and her own daughter’s decision to drop her computer science major, directed the documentary.

Tech companies opened their doors to Reynolds and her crew and answered hard questions about the gender gap and digital divide where they learned how the underlying currents, mindsets, stereotypes, clogs in the educational pipeline, lack of role models, and sexism played important roles. “CODE” followed the various challenges faced by a new generation of women programmers and the ingenious ways they are using their skills, intellect and vision to disrupt the traditional, male-dominated tech world.

The trailer for “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap” can be viewed here. An 8.5x11 poster with information about this documentary film screening is available as a downloadable PDF.

For more information on this event, or for questions about accommodations and the physical access provided, contact Sherry Roth, University Libraries Diversity Programming committee member, at 814-865-1011 or

  • promotional poster for documentary film screening of "CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap"

    Promotional poster for Robin Hauser Reynolds' documentary film "CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap."

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • woman in United States Navy uniform in foreground, code instructions on graph paper in the background

    In 1944, United States Navy Rear Admiral and computer scientist Grace Hopper became one of the first programmers of the groundbreaking Harvard Mark 1 computer.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • image of woman in blue buttoned shirt

    "CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap" director Robin Hauser Reynolds

    IMAGE: Getty Images
(1 of 3)

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 28, 2017