Girls and Computing

This is the first of three articles about girls and women in Computing.

On March 8th it was International Women's Day. This year's theme was Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It! There is more information here: International Women's Day.

Women programming Colossus, back in the day. Photo by Chris Monk

That website is not IT-specific though. You may wish to look at the Women in IT Awards website. The first set of awards were given in January.

The Women in Technology website features job listings, which may give you and your students an insight into the range of jobs that are available.

Computer Weekly produced a guide called Spotlight on women in UK IT. It's a few years old now, but still worth looking at I think because it is quite interesting. Also, it too gives an idea of the range of openings there are for girls in technology-related fields, and information about and from the "most influential women in IT".

The website/blog Women Who Code features stories about women who have achieved success in technology careers.

I've written quite a bit about this area myself. You may find these articles useful:

Where are the girls in ICT and Computing?

Encouraging girls to do computing: an economics approach

It doesn’t have to be pink

There is also an article by Julie Fisher called 1 way to help girls gain confidence in IT. This is about running all-girls classes doing activities that girls are interested in. It’s an interesting read, though I have to say I profoundly disagree with doing that sort of thing. For instance, one of the reasons for the fact that the girls liked the classes was that there were no boys to disrupt it. To my mind, if boys are disrupting a class, that’s a class management issue. As for looking for activities that girls will be interested in, that strikes me as somewhat patronising. I think all activities should be interesting for everybody. When I was a teacher – in a pretty challenging school – I had girls interested in IT without resorting to gimmicks like girl-only classes or a computer club for girls. Feel free to email me saying why you disagree with me if you like.

This article first appeared in Digital Education, in April 2015.

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