Girls and Gadgets: The Future

Alison Brown

Alison Brown, Senior Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Teesside

My Thoughts

A shorter presentation (one of several) on the efforts to get more girls into computing. A nice story of how the efforts went actually, and some thoughts on who best to target and why.


A big problem, seeing 2 or 3 out of a lecture theatre being women. The situation is worsening. Need to engage girls in computing to create a pipeline into careers – to counterbalance the gender specific issue, work with the girl-heavier courses.

1-2 girls in the marketing groups of 6th form students however, they just were not there to influence into going into these careers. Need to influence at a lower age, but the time this influence comes off it is too long term for university, and very hard to check how effective it is.

So a Girls & Gadgets subject events. 20 places per one, and there was a lot of interest. Day long eents, hands-on meaningful experience for girls and lots of role models throughout the day. It has limited

Girl & Gadgets Conference – 200 girls, presentations and workshops – targeting 13-16 girls. Notably the lack of technology (or the limits of it) in schools is a problem. Sessions of 20 minutes for attention spans. Also a wide span of talks and people, to provide information on the entire area of IT, and computers – it’s not just boring programming. It’ll be in December at Teeside.

It should be more flexible and reach a large amount of girls. It will also allow research since it was a missed opportunity before.

Partnerships are also being started – Computer Club for Girls are now partnered with Teeside. Adds value to the computer clubs, and the majority of the people coming to their events come from one of the clubs.

However, difficulties: Scheduling is hard – hard to meet school needs, and for scheduling the resources. Limitations on numbers also. Also, funding – it’s being funded by the University School right now, but will be cut in funding next year so needs to be made self sufficient.

Conclusions: Will continue to run events and build experience. Aim to create a network and set of events to reach a wider audience.

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