How do the top 10 Universities in Computer Science perform in terms of attracting female students? And what can universities do?

Last week the Guardian published their university league tables. These tables are really useful for prospective students who want to see where a university may rank in the league tables. I have no doubt as to the quality of these courses so I thought it would be interesting to see the gender breakdown for the students taking part in these courses, using data from Unistats. It is clear from the graph below that the highest rated institutions may not have the best numbers of female applicants.

The University of Liverpool, rated 9th, has 21% female students, while Bristol and York rate higher in the league tables but at the bottom when it comes to gender.

League Table Number University Male Female Gender for Ranking 1 = highest.
1 University of Cambridge 86 14 3
2 St Andrews 87 13 4 =
3 University of Southampton 85 15 2
4 Imperial College 88 12 5
5 University of Bristol 92 8 7 =
6 University of York 92 8 7 =
7 University of Birmingham 87 13 4 =
8 University of Glasgow 87 13 4 =
9 University of Liverpool 79 21 1 (Highest!)
10 Shefield University 89 11 6

What can universities do?

It is obvious that their courses are great, but it’s also apparent
that they do not seem to be attracting a diverse range of genders.
Here are some ways that universities can attract more female students:

1. Target your outreach to Maths A-level students: there are more
girls there to choose from.

2. Be encouraging in the interview and prospectuses by saying that
programming is NOT a pre-requisite to studying computer science.

3. Provide lots of information about computer science societies and
women’s groups you may have.

4. Have a good prospectus and an easy-to-navigate website.

For a more detailed discussion, take a look at my publications or email for a chat.

In the next few days keep an eye out as I will be doing a comparison with all the universities in the league tables. keep your eyes peeled for where your university ranks!

Addition (added 18th July) Raw data for the universities in the top ten of league tables can be found by clicking here.




Off to Pastures New

Bye bye Swansea, hello again Southampton!

For the past nine months, I have been working on a wonderful project at Swansea University called Technocamps. The project aims to encourage 11-19 year olds to study computing and technology.

There are various different hubs around Wales and they all hold
different workshops based on their expertise within their computer science
departments. Swansea held workshops on Programming and will be holding
workshops on digital electronics. My role was to develop the workshops and
help deliver them. It was very rewarding to see the workshops I made inspire
young people.

However, I missed independence and my life in Southampton so I have returned
to start new exciting challenging adventures. I have a couple small projects lined up with Southampton University and with the <GoTo> foundation

I am keen to get involved in new projects to do with enhancing the computer
science experience for all age groups and genders so please get in touch if
you would like a hand with anything or if you would like to have a chat about
outreach in computer science. I am currently consulting on projects that enhance the computer science experience for all age groups and genders. Please get in touch if you would like to have a conversation about how we can drive outreach in computer science. My PhD investigated how to get more girls into computer science and I have held successful outreach and public engagement events to also help this cause. I am looking to help organisations improve their marketing and outreach activities, and to assist with their overall image when reaching out to female students.

I have experience in:
* Teaching complex computer science concepts to young people.
* Girls and Technology
* Diversity in STEM
* Diversity in Higher Education
* The student experience
* Survey design
* Interview Design

Do get in touch if you would like to discuss these points further.