The computer has become a tool of vital importance in the home, classroom, and workplace. If females are less comfortable with this tool or have less access to a computer at home or at school, they could be at a disadvantage later in their educational careers or in the workplace. Based on available data, males and females have equal access to computers.
Reflecting the rapid spread of technology throughout society, the percentage of students in elementary and secondary school using computers at school increased from 60 percent of students in 1993 to 84 percent of students in 2001 (indicator 10). The percentage of students who used a computer at home increased from 25 percent of students to 66 percent of students.
Similar percentages of males and females used computers at school. In addition, similar percentages of males and females reported computer use at home, both in general and for schoolwork. However, when looking at 5- through 17-year-olds, girls are slightly more likely than boys to use home computers for e-mail, word processing, and completing school assignments (Computer and Internet Use by Children and Adolescents in 2001, NCES 2004-014). Despite evident parity in general access to and use of computers, however, there is some evidence that at least some males leave high school with greater interest in and specialized knowledge of computers. For instance, males accounted for 86 percent of students who took the AP examination in computer science in 2002, and males had higher average scores on the examination than females (figure D and indicator 22).