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Gender equality in technical IT study programs on university level
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Distribuerade realtidssystem (DRTS), Distributed Real-Time Systems)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2141-2146
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Informationssystem (IS), Information Systems)
2018 (English)In: NU2018 - Det akademiska lärarskapet, 2018, article id 670Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

One major issue in technical university study programs in IT is to get an even distribution of students of different genders in the classes. A consequence of having so few women in IT related study programs is that there will be an uneven distribution at technical IT positions at companies as well in the society, according to SCB (2016) only 20 % of the available IT maintenance, support and network technician positions where held by women in 2016. Network- and Systems administration at University of Skövde have this problem since the start in 2004, the common case is that between three and 11 percent of the admitted students are female and the rest are male. The case appears to be the same in rest of Europe as well in the US, mainly in technical branches of the IT educations (Riveiro, Bergström & Carlén, 2012; Beaubouef & Zhang, 2011).

To find out the extent of the problem within the field of network and systems administration, interviews were made with program coordinators from similar study programs that teach within the subject. Collection of admission statistics for men and women on the different study programs was also done. The program coordinators where asked questions about how they perceive the gender balance in their study programs, which actions they have taken to improve it, which actions should be taken to improve the gender balance in the future, if there are any female role models within the courses and what they think could be the key to improve the gender balance in these kind of study programs.

In this study, nine study programs that are similar in content to the network- and systems administration program of University of Skövde was identified. Six of the program coordinators participated in the interviews. The results from the collected admission statistics shows that women don’t tend to choose these kind of programs, roughly 10% of the newly admitted students are women each year. The results from the interviews show that the problem is across all study programs within the area of network- and systems administration. The identified problems where that the technical IT interest must be developed at an earlier age for many of the women if they are to be interested in applying. Further, equality problems often shows in the classroom environment, e.g. “boy talk” from the male students, making the women feel left out. Four out of six program coordinators think that increasing the interest of the subject early in age is the solution of the problem and that high school is too late for this kind of influence. One university had started a long term project with middle school pupils to increase the interest in technical IT of girls, as this is a project that cover early ages, results may be seen many years from now at university level. Two program coordinators mentioned that the content could be wider to include the areas of the field that is more interesting to both male and female students.

 

References

Beaubouef, T. & Zhang, W. (2011) Where are the women computer science students? Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, volume 26, Issue 4.

Riveiro, M., Bergström, E. & Carlén, U. (2012) Inför en ökad jämställdhet i datavetenskapliga utbildningsprogram. Conference NU 2012.

SCB (2016) Anställda 16 – 64 år efter Yrke (SSYK 2012) näringsgren SNI 2007, ålder, kön och år [Electronic]. Stockholm: SCB. Available on Internet: http://www.statistikdatabasen.scb.se/pxweb/sv/ssd/START__AM__AM0208__AM0208B/YREG61/?rxid=f45f90b6-7345-4877-ba25-9b43e6c6e299 [Retrieved 2018-03-19]

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. article id 670
Keywords [en]
equality, study programs, pedagogy
National Category
Pedagogy Gender Studies
Research subject
Information Systems; Distributed Real-Time Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16340OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16340DiVA, id: diva2:1258859
Conference
NU2018 - Det akademiska lärarskapet, Västerås, 9-11 oktober, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-25 Created: 2018-10-25 Last updated: 2018-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Modig, DennisKävrestad, Joakim

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