Aberystwyth computer sciences department named UK's ‘most gender diverse'
Only three universities can boast computer sciences teaching staff with more than 30% female representation
Aberystwyth University boasts the most gender diverse computer sciences teaching staff in the country with women representing a third of academics, although this may not be enough to encourage younger women into the field.
The Welsh university is followed by the University of St Andrews, where 33.1% of its computer sciences staff are women, and King’s College London (KCL), where women represent 31.9% of its academics.
This is according to an analysis of the 25 top computer science departments in the UK, with researchers from CrowdStrike also finding a correlation between gender diversity and quality of the computer sciences department. Of the departments with the highest gender diversity, 40% were in the top ten.
“It’s encouraging to see universities in the UK increasing female role models in the Computer Sciences to inspire the next generation and help to address the growing skills gap in technology disciplines,” said CrowdStrike’s chief human resources officer, JC Herrera.
“Alongside the initiatives being delivered in higher education to improve female representation in STEM, the private sector must play a pivotal role too by partnering with trailblazing organisations and charities, as well as offering scholarships and innovative apprenticeship schemes. If we want to continue driving our industry forward, we must address these inequities.”
The analysis was inspired by recent research that showed women are 52% more likely to consider a career in a STEM subject if inspired by a female role model. This lack of gender diversity in the teaching staff at institutions, therefore, is fuelling a vicious cycle that discourages women.
Female students are less likely to study computer sciences at a higher level or pursue a career in the field unless they can identify with a role model. This means fewer academics in the field corresponds with a reduced likelihood that female students will pursue computer science-related careers and, in turn, inspire others to follow suit.
Despite the slight encouragement these figures represent, a paltry 13% of students studying computer science-related courses in the UK are women, according to UCAS figures. Research from late 2019 also found the proportion of women in tech roles was flatlining.
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By contrast, there are encouraging signs in secondary education where figures last year showed more female students in the UK had chosen to take the Computing A-level than ever before. Overall entries for the course rose by 12% this year, with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT finding roughly 21,000 had enrolled through UCAS.
While women still only comprised a fractional 15% of overall entries, more than a third of women, 34%, achieved an A or A* versus 26% of men.
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